2022-2023 NBA Biggest Disappointments

2022-2023 NBA Biggest Disappointments

Ari Shemesh, Reporter

The NBA 2022-2023 season is officially over, and with the play-in already underway, many fans are excitedly awaiting to see their team perform in the playoffs. As there are in every season, there were teams that did not meet expectations, and today, the Tower will review these teams and discuss what problems they may have faced that caused them to miss the playoffs. 

At the beginning of the season, many NBA fans thought that the Atlanta Hawks would be very successful, and although the Hawks did make their way into the play-in, their season did not pan out the way many expected. In the 2021-2022 season, the Hawks finished as the 8 seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 43-39. In the off-season, they traded Danilo Gallinari and three first round picks for Dejounte Murray, who in the previous season, played at an all-star level, averaging 21 points per game, 8 rebounds per game, 9 assists per game, and 2 steals per game. Since the Hawks only lost one player in the trade, many fans predicted that with Trae Young, another all-star, John Collins, Clint Capela, and a strong young roster, that they would put up more of a fight in the competitive Eastern Conference. However, the Hawks finished this season with a 41-41 record, which landed them at the 10 seed. One cause of this was the surgery done on Bogdan Bogdanovic’s knee, which prevented him from playing the entire season. Aside from injuries, there were other major issues that the Hawks could not seem to work around. For example, their offense is somewhat predictable, as they mainly run iso plays and pick and roll plays to set up lobs. There are defenses in the NBA that struggle to stop this, but most of the time it is a bit easier to stop. A large number of NBA fans like to blame Trae Young’s lackluster defense for the Hawks’ struggles, and although this is probably true, it is not as problematic as other issues, as they have many other players on their roster who play excellent defense. 

The Minnesota Timberwolves are another team that did not reach their expectations. They lost D’Angelo Russell at the beginning of the season, which definitely hurt, as he was a very solid scorer. The Wolves’ trade for Rudy Gobert also surprised a lot of fans, as they gave up a lot for a very controversial player. However, Gobert was still a three time Defensive Player of the Year award winner, so his presence in the paint would be helpful. In the end, Gobert’s season was alright, as he managed to average 13 points per game and 11 rebounds per game. Additionally, at the beginning of the season, many questioned how the lineup would look, as the Timberwolves already had a star center in Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns ended up starting as the power forward, but unfortunately, he injured his leg and was forced to miss months worth of games. Anthony Edwards was one of the few players that shined this season, but without the help of many of his previous teammates, he was unable to help the Timberwolves earn a higher seed. Their final record was 42-40, which was enough to get the Timberwolves into the play-in as the 8 seed. 

Finally, the Dallas Mavericks are one of the biggest disappointments this season. Last year, the Mavericks finished the season with a record of 52-30, which put them as the 4 seed in the Western Conference, led by their all-star Luka Dončić, who averaged 28 points per game, 9 rebounds per game, and 9 assists per game. They were beaten by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conferences Finals, but most NBA fans thought that their next season would be as successful as the last. For the first half of the season, it seemed as though this would be the case, even though they lost one of the secondary scoring options in Jalen Brunson during the off-season to the New York Knicks. Things started to look even brighter when, on February 6, the Mavericks traded for Kyrie Irving. Unfortunately, they lost Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith in this trade. At this point, the Mavericks roster, besides Dončić and Irving, was not very good, which has been a problem for the majority for this season. This led to problems similar to the ones the Atlanta Hawks faced. The majority of the scoring came from their two stars, which became predictable, and there were not enough adjustments being made to fix these problems. The Mavericks’ defense was also a major problem this season. Although Dončić is an amazing player, possibly deserving of an MVP award, he cannot do so without good defense. This may have been the main cause for the Mavericks quick decline in the standings. Early in February, the Mavericks were the 4 seed yet again, but after their loss to the Chicago Bulls, they were kicked out of the playoffs, just two months later.