Who were the biggest surprises and biggest disappointments in a crazy NBA Season Staff Writer: Corey Darko

BUCKSThe NBA season has come to an end, meaning its time to discuss the biggest surprise teams in the east this year along with the most disappointing teams. Without further ado, we will start with the four biggest surprise teams. 

Surprise Teams: 

  1. Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers came into this season with high expectations and were expected to compete for a playoff spot this year. However, no one saw this team already becoming a championship contender given their youth. We were obviously proven wrong as the 76ers won 52 games and ending the season on a 16-game win streak.  They are a team that have many scary pieces as Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid look like transcendent talents, Dario Saric has all-star potential and Markelle Fultz, when healthy, can also become a special player. Woodstock High School junior Will Wagoner  stated, “The Sixers winning so many games at a young age is very similar to the young Warriors  in 2015.” Combine that with proven veterans in J.J Reddick, Marco Belenelli and Erson Illysova, the Sixers are poised to make a deep playoff run that no one expected coming into the season. 

PROCESS

Caption: The Sixers shocked the NBA world by winning 50 games.

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons. Gathered by Foroutan Gorgi

2. Utah Jazz: No one saw the Jazz being a top-4 team IN THE WEST. After losing their franchise player in Gordon Hayward, they seemingly replaced him in the draft by trading up to the number 13 pick and stole Donovan Mitchell, who ended up having a spectacular rookie season. He averaged 20 points per game and was their late game closer. Rudy Gobert being healthy was huge as they went 28—5 when he returned to the lineup. Combine that with the masterful coaching of Quinn Snyder, the Jazz shocked many people and have the ingredients to make a surprise playoff run. In fact, Woodstock High School senior Skylar Minard states, “The fact that the Jazz lost their franchise player in free agency and have already replaced him in the draft with Donovan Mitchell is incredible.” 

MITCHELL

Caption: Lead by rookie Phenom Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz won a surprising 48 games.

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons. Gathered by Foroutan Gorgi

3. Indiana Pacers: Many people believed the Thunder won the trade when they received Paul George for Victor Oladipo. However, they were proven wrong as both teams ended up winning 48 games and Oladipo had a breakout season. Nate McMillan has done a wonderful job while Myles Turner has been solid despite not making the all-star leap many people predicted.   

OLADIPO

Caption: The acers shocked the NBA world by winning 48 games despite losing Paul George.

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons. Gathered by Foroutan Gorgi

4. New Orleans Pelicans: After losing DeMarcus Cousins, many people (myself included) believed the Pelicans were done without their second-best player and a top-10 player in DeMarcus Cousins. However, they proved everyone wrong. Jrue Holiday has been on fire ever since Cousins got injured, Nikola Mirotic has been a great fit next to Anthony Davis as a floor spacer who can play good defense and Rajon Rondo has played like the dominant pass-first point guard we haven’t seen since his Boston days. The fact that the Pelicans have solid depth outside of Davis has surprised some people as Woodstock High School junior Isaiah Green stated, The notion that Anthony Davis has no help was definitely overblown as his supporting cast has been playing amazing since Cousins went down.” 

4 Biggest Disappointments 

  1. Milwaukee Bucks: You can argue the Thunder should be Number 1, but they were the 4th seed in the loaded Western Conference and had to integrate new pieces to the team. There is no excuse the Bucks should be the 7th seed in the weak Eastern Conference. They have a 20 ppg scorer in Kris Middleton, a “3&D” player in Tony Snell, Jabari Parker returned from injury and a superstar in Giannis Antenpkempo. Despite all that talent, they won an underwhelming 44 games and had a bottom 10 defense. While they are still capable of making a surprise playoff run, the fact they failed to win 50 games in the East is a big disappointment.
  2.  BUCKS
    Caption: The Bucks lost in the first round to a depleated Celtics team in disappointing fashion.
    Credit: Photo Courtesty of Creative Commons. Gathered by Foroutan Gorgi.
    2. Oklahoma City Thunder:  Despite having to integrate new pieces in Carmelo Anthony and Paul George and being a top-4 seed, a team with Steven Adams, Russell Westbrook, George and Anthony are too talented to only win 48 games. Their defense, ever since Andre Robertson got injured, has been a bottom-5 defense. Carmelo has taken a step back late in his career, as his defense has been awful, and his rebounding has been below average for a power forward. Westbrook and George have been painfully inconsistent. In fact, Woodstock High School junior Isaiah Hall stated, “A team with Paul George and Russell Westbrook should win more than 48 games.” 

OKC

Caption: The thunder ended the season on an extremely disappointing note as they were bounced out in 6 games n the first round to the Jazz.

Credit: Photo Courtesy Of Creative Commons. Gathered by Foroutan Gorgi

3. Charlotte Hornets: Many people predicted the Hornets would be a top-6 seed before the season started with the addition of Dwight Howard. However, the Hornets massively disappointed. The Hornets won a pathetic 36 games, rookie lottery pick Malik Monk was terrible as the Hornets passing on rookie phenom Donovan Mitchell for him look like a huge mistake, Dwight Howard underperformed, and Steve Clifford proved to be a limited head coach. A season that began with promise, is now left with rumors the Hornets will trade Kemba Walker and once again enter another long rebuild. 

4. Minnesota Timberwolves. Despite still making the playoffs, the Timberwolves should have been much better. While Jimmy Butler was injured for most of the season, the fact they barely made the playoffs is a letdown. Despite having defensive specialist coach Tom Thibodeau, the Timberwolves defense is still awful. Andrew Wiggins has underperformed significantly as he is shooting a career low from the field and his defense has been inconsistent. Karl Anthony Towns, despite being an offensive force, still hasn’t developed into an average defender and the Timberwolves are still one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league. Woodstock High School junior Jordan Fuller stated,”The Timberwolves should trade Wiggins. He is nowhere near a max player.”   

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