In the never-ending struggle to do what they consider necessary for the long and short-term improvement of their franchises, NBA front offices have made lots of deals this offseason. But not all the trades, draft picks, and free agents end up having the desired effect of improving the roster. In fact, a good number of them actually end up retrogressing the franchises. Here are the top three NBA teams who regressed and are actually worse than they were last season.
3. DETROIT PISTONS
The Detroit Pistons were in a great spot two months ago with the number one pick in hand and having to choose between building for the present or the future.
Well, it appears they chose neither of those options and after the Cade Cunningham excitement wears off, it will be followed by the reality of another poor season.
Motor Cade SZN is upon us. Who's ready to witness @CadeCunningham_'s Rookie year?#NoBrakes | @DraftKings pic.twitter.com/ouaJ0BjyBf — Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) August 27, 2021
After winning just 20 games last season, I expected the Pistons to be more aggressive in the offseason especially with the first pick. Instead, they added Kelly Olynyk to support Jerami Grant and the rest of the young roster, condemning themselves to another lottery season.
The worrying thing about Detroit is that they don’t seem to have a clear plan, they’re just stacking up rookies at this point but to what end?
2. SAN ANTONIO SPURS
I have nothing but respect for the legendary Coach Pop but at what point is it okay to ask what’s going on in San Antonio?
A losing season has been swiftly followed by a nightmare offseason for Spurs fans and I’m no soothsayer but it’s safe to say they’re not winning a championship this season.
Las Vegas oddsmakers seem to think that the Spurs will be a bottom-five team next season, but @DABartonek won't be so quick to assume one way or the other. #GoSpursGo https://t.co/emOD4lojoo — Air Alamo (@AirAlamo) August 27, 2021
San Antonio was 33-39 last season and then lost DeMar DeRozan, Patty Mills, and Rudy Gay with rather uninspiring replacements.
Losing your leading scorer in DeRozan, Patty Mills shooting and Rudy Gay’s veteran presence is bad enough but Thaddeus Young being the headline recruit is worse.
And even though they still have the likes of Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, Derrick White, and Lonnie Walker IV, that’s not enough to be excited about.
They are significantly worse than last season and will most likely be heading straight for the lottery positions.
1. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Can someone please inform Sam Presti that he’s not Thanos and draft picks are not infinity stones? It’s getting ridiculous.
The OKC general manager’s fixation on gathering draft picks rather than building an actual basketball team is the reason the Thunder have not been a competitive team in years.
Al Horford and Moses Brown were sent to Boston and Derrick Favors comes in as the token veteran presence; there’s always one every year. Any excitement surrounding the trade that briefly brought Kemba Walker to Oklahoma was swiftly expunged by Sam Presti who let Kemba go to New York.
This pretty much guarantees that Oklahoma City Thunder will not do better than their 22 wins from last season.
But cheer up OKC fans, at least Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will rack up more highlight plays since the attention is not focused on winning.
With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leading the way, things are A-OK in the OKC backcourt. https://t.co/zxTi7ykFKr — Sports Card Investor (@SportsCardInv) August 25, 2021