As we have seen over the past few offseasons in the NBA, big-name stars are moving to other teams which really change the landscape of the league. New star-studded teams are forming while other recently good teams will be headed to the bottom of the standings, however, just the names on the roster is not a guarantee that the team will be successful this upcoming season. A lot of fans are already putting together what teams will be contending for the title this season while writing off other teams as hopeless. We have seen in the past Big 3's completely fail while other teams with a more balanced roster end up being able to go further into the playoffs. It's not all about star power in the NBA, and this season could end up going a bit differently than many fans think, as all 30 teams are hungry to show what they have in store for us.
In this article, we will be looking at 10 teams who people are considering contenders that will ultimately end up failing this season, and we will be discussing 10 teams that could really surprise us when it comes to regular season wins and how they will fare in the playoffs this season.
As always, feel free to leave any comments you have on this article in the comment section below, as we would love to hear your feedback on this matter.
Here are 10 NBA "contenders" that will fail this season and 10 teams that could end up surprising us.
20 Flop: Oklahoma City Thunder
A classic case of a Big 3 not gelling together and ultimately failing was the Oklahoma City Thunder last year with Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony. They were beaten pretty easily by the Utah Jazz, led by rookie Donovan Mitchell, and the team left a lot to be desired for Thunder fans.
They look a bit different than last season, as Carmelo is now gone to the Rockets, and they traded for backup point guard Dennis Schroder, which could prove to be a solid move.
However, when you have a guy like Russell Westbrook running the show, it is pretty much on him to deliver wins considering his usage rate, and the team will ultimately end up failing like last year.
19 Surprise: Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies absolutely tanked last season to secure a top 5 draft selection where they drafted Jaren Jackson Jr. from Michigan. He played incredibly well in the Summer League and could prove to be a top Rookie of the Year candidate when the year begins. Injuries are the reason the Grizzlies lost so many games last season, and they will be getting back star players Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. With these players back in the rotation, we could end up seeing the Grizzlies make the playoffs in the tough Western Conference, and be a team that makes more noise than people are giving them credit for.
18 Flop: Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers added possibly the greatest NBA player of all-time to their roster in the likes of LeBron James this offseason, and expectations for this Lakers team is very high, as LeBron has carried less talented teams to the finals before. However, this season could end up being a transition year for the franchise, as it could take the year to figure things out.
LeBron is now dealing with a much tougher conference and while many are expecting the Lakers to secure a top-4 spot in the west, they could very well be on the playoff bubble.
It could be a serious fast exit for the Lakers in the playoffs, and anything but a championship run for the likes of LeBron is a fail.
17 Surprise: Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers have no expectations to be a good team in the league this year due to the fact LeBron James is gone, but they still have a group of players that could make some noise in the weak Eastern Conference.
Kevin Love signed a big contract with them and we could see Love have a resurgent season with LeBron gone.
They also drafted hungry young guard Collin Sexton, who could be primed for a successful rookie season running the show at point-guard. The Cavaliers, while not being a serious contender to win the championship, could still be a threat in the Eastern Conference to make the playoffs.
16 Flop: Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves had high expectations last season to be a good team in the West when they traded some of their young talent for Jimmy Butler. Butler and the young stars in Minnesota didn't mesh well, and they could be in for another sub-par season if they don't get things together.
Butler refused to report to the team in September and the Timberwolves really look like a mess now. While some are expecting Wiggins and Towns to be able to bring the team back to the postseason, this season has disaster written all over it for Minnesota. In fact, it might be time to consider a full-scale rebuild.
15 Surprise: Miami Heat
The Miami Heat are definitely one of the biggest sleeper teams in the league. Dwyane Wade is coming back for his final season, and they have a lot of good players and will be a formidable team in the NBA this year. The big question mark revolves around their star big man. Hassan Whiteside has the talent to easily be one of the most dominant big men in the league, but we have seen him not play to his full potential many of times and in the playoffs against the Sixers, the coaching staff barely had him playing any minutes. If he can play his real game, the Heat could be a good team.
14 Flop: Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks are a team we have been waiting to make some noise in the East for a while now, who are led by a top five player in the league in Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is really one of the most special players in the league. Other than this star player, the Bucks have solid talents such as Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon, but the team has still struggled despite being considered a good team.
They also lost Jabari Parker to the Bulls, which could hurt them in terms of wins.
This year could have the same outcome for them, as they are very weak at positions such as the center spot. Even with LeBron out of the east, the Bucks will find themselves falling behind teams such as the Celtics, Sixers, Raptors and Heat.
13 Surprise: San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs ended up trading their franchise player in Kawhi Leonard, as the star unsurprisingly said he wanted to cut ties to the team, which led to the Spurs having to make a move with him. They were able to trade for DeMar DeRozan, and while he may not be the complete player that Leonard is, he will fit in nicely with the Spurs roster.
San Antonio could end up being a top team in the Western Conference with coach Gregg Popovich leading the team as he has for the past two decades. The team lost some veteran pieces in Many Ginobili and Tony Parker, but having a healthy motivated DeRozan over an injured, unmotivated Kawhi Leonard will make a huge difference for San Antonio.
12 Flop: Toronto Raptors
We have seen the Raptors fall to the likes of LeBron James in the East for the last couple of seasons now, and with him gone to the West, you would expect this to be a breakthrough season for the Raptors. However, they made the questionable move of trading their franchise player, DeMar DeRozan, for Kawhi Leonard, who will most likely be leaving Toronto right after this season.
For the Raptors to be successful, they will need to gel quickly to get a high seed in the East. While Kawhi Leonard has said he's excited about playing in Toronto, you really have to wonder just how this group will come together.
11 Surprise: Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks selected a star player from overseas in Luka Doncic in this season's draft, and this could end up being one of the better moves the franchise has made in a very long time.
The talented young guard will now be paired up with last year's star rookie, Dennis Smith Jr., and the young backcourt could end up making noise for Dallas this upcoming season.
The Mavericks have had a winning mentality over the past decade in the NBA, and they will be hungry to try and win games this season and will be a sleeper to many teams in the league.
10 Flop: Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards have a really talented roster on paper, but we have seen them struggle big time throughout the last few seasons despite making the playoffs multiple times. The fate of the team really lies on John Wall, but we saw the team do very well without him when he went down for an injury last year.
The Wizards added Dwight Howard to be their center for this season, but this could be another up and down year for the Wizards. Howard is on his fourth team in three years and you have to wonder how he'll fit on a team that has already shown a lack of chemistry.
9 Surprise: Indiana Pacers
The Pacers stunned many NBA fans last season as they ended up having a really great season by their standout star Victor Oladipo, and they even went to seven games against LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
They have a lot of good players behind Oladipo such as center Myles Turner, Tyreke Evans, and Bojan Bogdanovic, who had some really big games for them on the offensive side of the ball. This team will look to build on last season and could make a run in the playoffs, especially with LeBron out of the way.
8 Flop: Utah Jazz
The Jazz are not considered one of the better teams in the league, even after their first round playoff win against the Thunder last season. Donovan Mitchell did have an outstanding rookie season, but many teams now have game tape on how to stop him and the Jazz could be in for a rough season.
The West got a lot better this offseason and it will be hard for the Jazz to maintain the success they had last season.
If Mitchell experiences a sophomore slump, which is very possible, the Jazz will most likely miss the playoffs, as they're just not deep enough to overcome that.
7 Surprise: Chicago Bulls
The Bulls have made some great moves over the past few seasons as they went into rebuild mode full on and look to come out on the other side of the losing very soon, possibly even this year. They have an immense amount of great players, the list including the likes of Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., and they now have power forward Jabari Parker. The Bulls could really string together some wins as they will be looking to show the league their young talents, and if the young core they have can stay healthy, the Bulls franchise could be back to the playoffs.
6 Flop: Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia is widely considered to be the next great team in the NBA, but this season may end up being a huge setback for the young team. They didn't add LeBron James to the team despite all of the speculation, but they still have star power to lean on. They will most likely win a good amount of games in the regular season, but we saw them fall to the Celtics in just five games in the second round of the playoffs, and the Celtics didn't even have Kyrie Irving or Gordon Hayward. The 76ers can beat mediocre teams easily, but this season could prove hard to win games against good teams.
5 Surprise: Phoenix Suns
The Suns are going to be a much improved team from last season, as they made all the right moves this offseason to better themselves for the future and we could see them win a good amount of games this season, possibly even sneaking into the competitive Western Conference playoffs.
Devin Booker will most likely launch his career into the superstardom category this year, and they also drafted another could-be star in Deandre Ayton.
Other additions such as Mikal Bridges from Villanova and Trevor Ariza from the Rockets will all prove to be good moves, and with that, the Suns are a team to watch this season.
4 Flop: Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers could certainly be one of those teams that get booted from the playoffs this season as one of our new sleeper teams claim a spot. The Blazers have some good talent in the backcourt with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, however they lack other supporting cast needed to win games if those two aren't making their shots.
The Blazers ended up with the third seed in the Western Conference last year, and it's extremely unlikely this will happen again as they will fail to win enough games to even make the playoffs for this season.
3 Surprise: New Orleans Pelicans
To many people's surprise, the Pelicans lost All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins to the Warriors of all teams this summer. While some fans would think that takes the team out of contention, the Pelicans could be better off without him. Anthony Davis will be a top candidate for MVP this year, and the team also signed a very talented young big man in Julius Randle, who will prove to help the team greatly.
Jrue Holiday is also one of the better guards in the league, and we expect this team to win games throughout the year despite losing one of their best players.
2 Flop: Houston Rockets
On paper, the Houston Rockets are easily one of the most talented teams in all of the NBA. They had a great season last year and won many games, and we expect them to do the same throughout the regular season this year.
The team arguably got worse this season though, as they lost Trevor Ariza to free agency, a great wing defender who fit the team's system nicely.
They added Carmelo Anthony, but like we saw for the Thunder, Melo didn't bring anything to the team but problems. The Rockets won't end up coming out of the West and may even be prime for a second round upset, to a team like say...
1 Surprise: Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets have one of the best young rosters in the game, and they will be looking to take their game to the next level this season after just missing out on the playoffs last year. They will be led by incredibly talented big man Nikola Jokic, who really is becoming one of the best players in the league quickly.
The big move the Nuggets made this off-season was drafting Michael Porter Jr. with their 14th overall selection, which was a great move for them as he has star potential written all over him. If the young talent in Denver can come together, we can see this team making some noise.