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The Most Underachieving Teams During the 2019-20 NBA Season

Sacramento Kings Looking in Shock - NBA Logo and a Red Arrow Going Down

While the NBA season is at a pause, let’s take a look back at the 2019-20 season and check on the league’s 30 teams. While there were teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and Toronto Raptors who exceeded their win expectation, there were also teams that failed to keep pace with their projected win totals.

Every NBA team has a projected win total before a season starts and this win total is used by the sportsbooks as the reference point of their over/under team wins bets. For this article, we got the projected win total of each team which was used by the betting site BetOnline.ag for its opening over/under odds.

Let’s take a look at which franchises owned the most underachieving teams during the 2019-20 NBA season:

Golden State Warriors (15-50)

  • Projected Wins 48.5

The Golden State Warriors turned from defending Western Conference champions to the team with the worst record in the league in less than one season. The Warriors failed to defend their 2018 NBA title after losing Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson to injury. Durant left for Brooklyn during the offseason while Thompson is out for the season. Steph Curry also suffered an injury early in the 2019-20 season and these doomed the Dubs.

Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors

D’Angelo Russell didn’t impress Steve Kerr and he was traded for Andrew Wiggins. Draymond Green is having his worst season ever and with the likes of Eric Paschall and Alec Burks as their leading scorers, this team is headed to its worst finish in the Steve Kerr era. Golden State should get a high lottery pick in the draft and with the Splash Brothers returning soon, they should be able to bounce back next season.

Minnesota Timberwolves (19-45)

  • Projected Wins 35.5

The Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl Anthony Towns was voted twice by the NBA GMs as the player they wanted to build their franchise around. But since Jimmy Butler spilled the beans on the T-Wolves’ internal problems, Towns and the Wolves have looked very bad. Minnesota already had a very talented duo in Towns and Andrew Wiggins but they decided to trade Wiggins to the Golden State Warriors for D’Angelo Russell.

Minnesota also dealt Robert Covington for Maily Beasley, Juancho Hernandez, and Jarred Vanderbilt who all have expiring contracts. The trade allowed the Wolves to experiment with a young line-up, virtually giving up on winning games this season. Minnesota went 3-7 SU in their last 10 games before the suspension of action and they were a dismal 7-24 SU on the road this season. The Wolves are trying to build around Towns and Russell but right now, they just don’t have the supporting cast to compete.

San Antonio Spurs (27-36)

  • Projected Wins 45.5

The San Antonio Spurs are probably the biggest disappointment this season. The Spurs entered 2019-20 having made the playoffs in the previous 22 seasons which is tied for the NBA record. The team won 48 games last season and didn’t have any significant movement during the offseason. But while the Spurs didn’t do much, the other teams improved and San Antonio was at 27-36 when the season was paused.

DeMar DeRozan put up big numbers at 22.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game but LaMarcus Aldridge had an underwhelming season at 18.9 points and 7.4 rebounds. Rudy Gay was having his worst season ever while the Spurs couldn’t get a third force to help DeRozan and Aldridge carry the load.

If the season resumes and the Spurs don’t play better, they will be headed to their worst season since drafting Tim Duncan in 1997.

Detroit Pistons (20-46)

  • Projected Wins 37.5

The Detroit Pistons weren’t expected to be a playoff team this season but they were expected to win a decent 37.5 games this year. However, injuries to Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard and Blake Griffin caused the Pistons to struggle early on and they never recovered. Derrick Rose continues to impress in his comeback trail but even D-Rose was hounded with injuries this season.

With the team failing to find any consistency, they proceeded to trade Andre Drummond to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Brandon Knight, John Henson, and 2023 second-round pick. Then Detroit bought out Reggie Jackson and Markieff Morris in an apparent sign of waving the white flag on their 2019-20 campaign. Griffin will be back next season but aside from the brittle Derrick Rose, he doesn’t have enough support given their remaining line-up.

Portland Trail Blazers ( 29-37)

  • Projected Wins 46.5

The Portland Trail Blazers headed to this season with six straight playoff appearances and three trips to the second round. Last season, Portland went all the way to the 2019 Western Conference Finals where they were swept by the Golden State Warriors. This year, the Blazers were expected to regress with their improved big man Jusuf Nurkic suffering a fractured tibia last season. But with the addition of Hassan Whiteside and Carmelo Anthony later, the Blazers were still expected to contend for a playoff spot.

However, Portland was in 9th place in the West when the season was paused and they were still four games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Portland brought in Trevor Ariza during the season but he wasn’t able to provide support to the Blazers’ duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Both are having terrific seasons, statistically but there are rumors that they might be broken up this coming offseason.

New Orleans Pelicans (28-36)

  • Projected Wins 39.5

The New Orleans Pelicans were projected to win close to 40 games after they picked Zion Williamson with the #1 overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft. But Zion suffered a knee injury during the preseason and he played only 19 out of the Pelicans’ 64 games this season. Williamson’s absence caused the Pelicans to struggle early during the season despite having an All-Star season from Brandon Ingram.

But since Zion has returned, the Pelicans have started to make their move. Williamson averaged 23.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists this season and he became the spark New Orleans was looking for. Along with Ingram and Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans were making a last run at the postseason. New Orleans climbed back to 10th place in the Western Conference team standings, just 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies.

Sacramento Kings (28-36)

  • Projected Wins 37.5

The Sacramento Kings were another underachieving team this season. Some even touted the Kings to be a dark horse to make the playoffs. With a core led by De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Marvin Bagley III, the Kings had more than enough talent to be a winning team this season. But Bagley played just 13 games while Fox was limited to 45 games due to injury.

Sacramento finished the first half of the season at 15-26 or 11 games below the .500 mark. There was a period where they won three out of 15 games and that hurt the Kings. The injury bug hit them at the start and never left them until the season was suspended. A lot of people were calling for Luke Walton’s ouster but this wasn’t about Walton. It was because injuries prevented them from building continuity while playing in a new system.