NBA’s 3 Most Underachieving Teams


Dec 10, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love (42) is fouled by Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) in the second quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA is filled with talent as well as teams that are somehow, someway, finding a way to lose games. Yes, you read that correctly. In the NBA, underachieving teams are abundant, especially in the Eastern Conference. If I told you that after about 56 games, the Eastern Conference would look like the way it does right now, you would likely be in disbelief.

Everyday, analysts and critics say that the East is basically going to be a battle between the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat, and destiny says that those two teams will in fact meet in the Western Conference Finals. Will I fully agree with those statements, I also agree that no game or series in the NBA is a certain win. With that being said, which teams in the NBA are underachieving, and could likely do so much more than they’re doing now?

1. Detroit Pistons:

This team is fully stacked and loaded. As far as I’m concerned, they have the best front-court in the NBA right now, but are very much so in the underachieving category. In a fairly weak Western Conference, the Pistons are struggling to stay alive in the playoff hunt. In my opinion, they should be #5 or #6 in the playoff standings right now. The fact that they’re not tells me that chemistry could be the problem.

They should be dominating the paint every game, and as for the outside shooting, Brandon Jennings can get the job done. They have a decently solid bench, and all of the pieces. Whether Greg Monroe, Josh Smith, or Andre Drummond aren’t meshing with each other, or Jennings is too selfish at the helm, the Pistons have one of the best rosters on paper.

This team has an incredible amount of talent and ambition. With a small adjustment in the area of chemistry or positioning, the Pistons will be on their way back to the glory days, hopefully for them.

"The 20-year-old big man is quickly winning over Detroit with his athleticism and upside, and his 2013-14 campaign has left little doubt that he’s a franchise cornerstone."

Adam Fromal of Bleacher Report puts it perfectly in saying that Drummond is the future of the Pistons. Monroe and Smith may be here temporarily, but with the skill-set that they all have, the Pistons should be an Eastern Behemoth. Individually, they look good, but together on the court, they face many problems.

2. Toronto Raptors:

I know what you’re thinking: how can a team that’s 3rd in the Eastern Conference be on this list? Well, it’s that simple. At 31-25, the Toronto Raptors are taking the league by storm. From Kyle Lowry to high flyers like DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross, Toronto glory is back for the first time since the days that Chris Bosh was dominating.

31-25, 56 games through, and you’re third in the conference? If I’m not mistaken about the standings, the win total should be way higher than that. The Raptors are a solid team with a great core and tough players, and they have upset potential over Indiana and maybe even Miami. No series or single game is a given in the NBA.

The Raptors are hot right now, and they may finally be getting back on track. Still, they stand at only 6 games over .500, and should be doing much better than that, especially in a considerably weak Eastern Conference.

"The perimeter trio of Lowry, All-Star swingman DeMar DeRozan and emerging second-year wing Terrence Ross has proved to be potent offensively, and is well complemented by the interior tandem of second-year center Jonas Valanciunas and underrated power forward Amir Johnson, while playmaking point guard Greivis Vasquez, stretch-four Patrick Patterson and veteran swingman John Salmons — all acquired from Sacramento in the Gay trade—have galvanized the Raptors’ bench."

CSN Chicago’s Aggrey Sam analyzes the Raptors’ situation well. They traded away a lot of fire power letting Rudy Gay go, but they also bolstered their bench. They now have solid big men who have yet to hit their ceilings, sizzling wings and high risers, and a solid point guard who can do just about everything. Now, all they’re missing is a closer, but that’s a small role to fill and they shouldn’t have a hard time getting DeRozan to drill big shots.

3. Minnesota Timberwolves:

For a team that is +3.9 in point differential, the Timberwolves sure are struggling. This type of season is not the type that Kevin Love wants to have as he has expressed his displeasure and may be inclined to leave for the LA Lakers during free agency. While it is unlikely that he meets up with Russell Westbrook in LA, the Wolves are going to have to have some magic to keep him in Minnesota.

This team is the definition of underachieving. They have players that one wouldn’t necessarily classify as superstar, but they get the job done. Sharpshooter Corey Brewer is consistently a perimeter threat, while Kevin Martin is and always will be a prolific scorer. They have a solid point guard and a solid backup point guard running the show.

I guess the main point of my argument in this case is that they know what they’re doing. Their weak link, however, is their defense. Allowing over 100+ points per game isn’t going to get you wins, even when your offense is extremely potent. Get it together, T-Wolves!