The Catastrophe(s) of 2017

Who Was the Worst Team in 2017?

Lakers: 25-56. (30.8%)

It has been five years since the Lakers made the playoffs, so long ago most people can’t even remember the starting lineup back then. Just for the record, the 2013 Lakers had Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Steve Blake, Metta World Peace and Steve Nash. They were summarily drubbed in four games with one interesting moment, when Dwight Howard was ejected in game four, an elimination game, and he pleaded for Lakers fans patience, saying he would never let them down again. Then he rejected L.A. for Houston.

The last playoff game the Lakers won was May 18th 2012, a 36 point effort from Kobe Bryant who-surprise- took 25 shots, made 9 of them but went to the line 18 times to beat Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook by three points. It’s been downhill ever since and frankly a catastrophe.

The Lakers had to start over. That was obvious. They drafted Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson (second round), Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, traded for Kyle Kuzma and drafted Josh Hart 30th. Clarkson and Kuzma have the talent to make a jumpshot and finish at the rim. The rest have to iso ball to be productive. So far, no one is showing All-Star in their future, with the exception of Kuzma if he continues to develop. He gets pushed around at the power forward position. Randle will probably be traded by February and is in a snit about not starting and how it is costing him money. (This is why Doc Rivers hates rebuilding; the psyche of young players).

In 2017, the Lakers won 25 games. From Valentines Day to the end of the season they posted a brilliantly anesthetizing 18 out of 20 losses as they put on a tanking exhibition. Then in December, they won exactly 0 home games, including four uninspired losses in a row at Staples Center, losing to a Portland team without Damian Lilliard, a Memphis team without Mike Conley, a Clippers team with Blake Griffin coming back for his first game post-injury. Perhaps it says something that their 3 wins in the Xmas month were all on the road, including Houston. Or, perhaps, like everything with the Lakers, it’s a mirage. With Lonzo Ball, Brook Lopez and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope out the lineup for a variety of reasons, it’s pretty grim at the end of games. (Valerie Morales)

2017 Nets: 25-61 (29.0%)

The Nets have moved past irrelevancy into who cares? Once they got taken to Ainge School with draft picks and had to mine the failure pile to get talent, you knew it was going to be a long haul. They swung for the fences with D’Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin and both have been injured. They have amassed a bunch of players who are mediocre on offense and deplorable on defense but they have upped the tempo and they play hard.

Three years ago, the Nets were in the playoffs against the Hawks and that was their last appearance. Deron Williams was trying to scrape together a memorial to his career even though the handwriting was on the wall. It was 2015. Brooklyn got a throwback 35 point performance from Williams and Brook Lopez added 26. The Hawks would win the next two games to close out the series, ushering in this.

In 2015, the Nets drafted Chrs McCullough and followed that stellar pick up with Marcus Paige and his one NBA game, then Kyle Kuzma who they traded to the Lakers, Jarrett Allen, and a Russian who isn’t in the States. So. Help is not on the way. Not even close. The Nets had to grab an overpaid Allen Crabbe, an injured old DeMarcus Carroll and a fingers crossed, please score for us, D’Angelo Russell. Russell is averaging 20 but he is sitting on the bench and the Nets are typically weary.

The Nets defined horrific in 2017. They had one stretch that began at the beginning of the year and edged through March where they lost 18 out of 20 games, including 16 games in a row. At the beginning of the 2017-18 year they were surprisingly competitive. They just beat the Heat in Miami and the game wasn’t close. They’ve beaten the Wizards twice. Still. They have lost 8 out of their last 10 games.

And the beat goes on. (Julian Billick)

2017 Kings: 30-54 (35.7%).

It wasn’t two months into the season when the Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins. No crystal ball needed. The Kings were going to continue their playoff swoon. Rebuiding again means another five years before a playoff berth. The Kings have already been strangers to the postseaon since 2006, the Mike Bibby era. This offseason, they signed George Hill and Vince Carter and Zach Randolph, the very old to pair with the very young so of course it was going to be another Kings disaster. The Kings though, can trade Randolph who is having a solid year for draft picks or more youth which would put them further behind the eight ball. But Sac fans don’t really care. They are used to below average. They still fill the seats, 100% occupancy.

The last time the Kings tasted playoff air, it was against the Spurs so you know how that went. Who knew that April 30th day would be the last Kings playoff win for 12 years running. (George Bush was president the last time they were in the postseason). That day, Bonzi Wells made 81% of his shots and had 25 points. Brad Miller added 19 points. The Kings beat the Spurs by 18. A few days later, when the series ended with a Spurs win, the Kings playoff drought would commence.

After trading Cousins in February 2017,  the Kings began tanking, losing 12 out of 14 at one point but for what reason? The Kings have been known to draft blindfolded. They missed out on Rajon Rondo, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Giannis Antetokonumpo, Devin Booker. There is no reasonable non-drunk person who thinks the Kings will suddenly draft a player who could possibly do something in the league..

The Kings began the 2017-18 season losing 14 out of the first 20 games. They beat the Cavaliers. But the next game they lost to the Suns. That is such a Sacramento King thing to do and a New Year’s gift to all just so we never forget: it’s the Kings. (C.J. Hampshire)