After one week of the NBA regular season, there are some NBA teams starting slow. While some teams like the Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers have won their first three games, others are still looking for their first win. Obviously, the sample size isn’t that much yet. At the time of this writing, only two teams have played four games, while the rest of the league has played three or two. Therefore the season is young, and these teams have a ton of time to get on track. Here are three NBA teams starting slow.
Three NBA Teams Starting Slow This Season
Golden State Warriors
Sure, the Golden State Warriors were able to squeak out a buzzer-beater win against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday night. But, their poor defense, as well as the struggles of Kelly Oubre and Andrew Wiggins on offense have fans nervous.
Against the Bulls, Wiggins had 19 points and nine boards in his best game as a Warrior. But in the two games before that, Wiggins was a liability on offense. His fellow newcomer wing Oubre hasn’t faired any better. In three games, Oubre is averaging 5.7 points on a ghastly 17.5 percent from the floor. Also, all seven of his field goals have been dunks or putbacks.
Some slack should be granted due to the quality of their opponents to start the year. The Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks are two defensive juggernauts. Without Klay Thompson, both players must produce for them to make the postseason.
As I also mentioned, the defense has been a weakness so far. They’re allowing their opponents to hit 50 percent of their shots through three games, and are last in scoring defense. Their best hope for improving that end of the floor is getting Draymond Green healthy from his foot injury. When he returns, he and number one overall pick James Wiseman should be able to provide some stability.
Although the Chicago Bulls weren’t projected to be a playoff team, fans are still excited to see how their young core develops. But through three games, the results have been three losses. In their first two games against the Atlanta Hawks and Pacers, they lost by 20 and 19 respectively.
The defense hasn’t been good, allowing the Hawks and Pacers to shoot 53.8 and 55.9 percent from the field. Offensively, they’re a middle of the road team that’s waiting on players like Coby White and Wendell Carter to make jumps. The Bulls have a bonafide number one option in Zach LaVine to score. And Lauri Markkannen looks great so far, averaging 20 points per game on 52.8 percent shooting. But the team is only shooting 43.2 percent from the floor, and that’s the third worse rate in the NBA.
If the Bulls don’t want to continue to be one of the NBA teams starting slow, the change will have to come on defense first. Against the Hawks, they were down by 28 points, and when you’re down that much, your offense is going to feel rushed and shoot more poorly. In addition against the Pacers, they were down by 30 points in the third quarter. The potential for growth on defense is there with Patrick Williams and Carter. But until they improve metrics like allowing the fourth-most points in the paint, their opponents (especially against the western conference) will put up lots of points.
The Washington Wizards are not happy with their 0-3 record through their first three games. More specifically, they’re not happy with their fourth-quarter play. In their last games against the Philadelphia 76ers and Magic (twice), they’ve been outscored in the fourth quarter 121-72.
This is a team that had big hopes after the addition of Russell Westbrook changed their culture. Although they’re one of the NBA teams starting slow, there are still things to like about the Wizards. Westbrook put up a triple-double in his two games and had assist totals of 15 and 11. His shot selection is questionable at times, but there’s no doubt he’s a good fit next to Bradley Beal. Finally, the return of Rui Hachimura will be big in helping the Wizards in the rebounding department.
But the Achilles heel of last year’s Wizards squad was defense. And so far, it’s still looking like their biggest area for growth. On defense, they give up the seventh-most rebounds per game, and sixth most points. The eastern conference has more firepower on offense than in a long time. The Wizards have enough star power to be in the running for a playoff birth by the end of the season. Whether or not they can be better on defense than a year ago will determine if this team is worthy of a playoff spot.
NBA Teams Starting Slow Have Plenty Of Time
For the NBA teams starting slow, there are still 68-70 games left. And remember, the offseason was only two months long, so teams are still learning how to play with one another. A sports season isn’t defined by what we see in the first week of games. But the first week gives teams, as well as us fans an idea of how the season could play out. So don’t panic or overreact yet if you’re a fan of one of these teams. Anything can still happen in a very young season.