NBA Playoffs Roundtable: Most Disappointing Teams From Round 1
The second round is underway and the dust has finally settled on one of the most entertaining first rounds in recent memory. In this roundtable, we make our pick for the most dissapoiting team of the first round.
Portland Trail Blazers
Jonathan Ebrahimi - @Awrashoo
The most disappointing team thus far has been the Portland Trailblazers. After a great season where they locked up the third seed, they flamed out of the first round in dramatic fashion, getting swept by the Pelicans. Damian Lillard was a shell of himself averaging 18.5 PTS and 4.8 AST on 35.2% shooting from the field. That’s 8.4 PTS, 1.8 AST and 8.7% worse than his regular season averages. This team has been on the rise for a few years now, but being swept in the first round by the sixth seed has to be considered a huge setback.
Quinton Hoey - @quintonhoey
The Portland Trail Blazers snatched this category in an unexpected way. Had a case for most surprising. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum we largely pedestrian. Dame averaged 18.5 points a game on 35.2 percent from the field, both the lowest ever in his playoff career. He disappeared for huge chunks of time, standing in the corner, not moving off the ball. C.J. was better averaging 25.3 points and shooting over 50 percent, but watching him at times was painful. He would take over the offense and eat up whole possessions by himself, something he does occasionally, but was over compensating. There was a lot of your-turn-my-turn between the two of them. The team played well when the offense flowed but struggled to keep it going. Evan Turner was a train wreck, Aminu was a bright spot, Nurkic played soft. An ominous offseason approaches.
The Portland Trail Blazers. The team fought hard and could have escaped with victories in Games 1, 2 and 4, but the Pelicans clamped down defensively, and the Blazers never truly adjusted.
The third seeded Blazers with two young stars were unable to find their rhythm until CJ McCollum broke out in Game 4 with 38 points, but by then it was too late. The team who had managed 13 straight wins from February-March against the Cavaliers, Warriors, Timberwolves, Clippers and Jazz, among others, couldn’t escape with a single victory.
If you read my playoff preview of the Blazers, you probably aren’t surprised by this, but yes, the Portland Trail Blazers were dreadfully disappointing. After choking away Game 1 at home, the Blazers never came close to recovering. Dame looked off, shooting 33% from the field; CJ did all he could but it wasn’t enough without a partner in crime and when Al-Farouq Aminu is your most consistent player in a series, being swept seems like the right outcome. The defense that led the Blazers all year was shredded by Jrue Holiday and Playoff Rondo, not to mention AD completely dominating the paint, outplaying two forwards at a time. The ending of the Blazers season was like the finale of a Scooby Doo episode but instead of a person being underneath the mask it was a shitty shooting team with a bunch of whack ass contracts being the true ghosts that will haunt the Blazers well into the near future. I hope those Blazers fans went straight to the dispensary after Game 4 to help forget the horrors of this postseason.
Evan Dyal - @EvanDyal
The most disappointing team has to be the Portland Trail Blazers. Clearly, the Pelicans were a bad matchup and the better team, but the Blazers had no excuse to be swept with home court advantage. Most experts and idiots like me picked Portland, and no one saw this coming. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were both disappointing especially Lillard with both producing far less than what they did in the regular season. The role players outside of maybe Aminu all disappointed, especially the bench and Jusuf Nurkic. Terry Stotts failed to make any adjustments as well. It was disappointing for everyone, and now it leads to major questions and likely changes for the Blazers in the offseason.
The most disappointing team of round one is easily the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers caught fire late in the regular season and managed to capture the 3 seed in the Western Conference. Fans were excited to see Portland in the postseason as something other than an 8-seed playing against the Warriors. This was the year Portland could really make it to the second round. But… they got swept by the New Orleans Pelicans without Demarcus Cousins in such a fashion that no one could’ve expected. Rajon Rondo, Jrue Holiday, and Nikola Mirotic all came up big to complement Anthony Davis in shutting down Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum for 4 games in a row. Better luck next year, RIP City!
The easy answer is the Blazers, but as a Denver Nuggets fan I could've told you Jusuf Nurkic was going to fold up like a beach chair. (Sad Jusuf Nurkic: I'm Why.) So I'm going to go with a different take -- the Houston Rockets. Yes, they are presumably about to roll into the second round, but these guys were supposed to be world-beaters. The real championship series this year was supposed to be the Western Conference Finals. The Rockets absolutely trucked teams this year in the regular season, and their matchups with the Warriors were wildly entertaining. But that team didn't look much like the one giving up games to an 8 seed. This Rockets team at times got outplayed at PG by Jeff Fucking Teague and -- with the exception of that one glorious quarter -- generally playing like a shrug emoji. The Warriors can be forgiven for sleepwalking through their first round series; they're the reigning champs and their opponent's second best player might actually be Patty Mills. The Rockets have something to prove, and they're not really proving it.
Oklahoma City Thunder
This was the ribbon on top of a disappointing season. With many expecting the Thunder to advance on to see the Rockets, we didn’t get that. Russell Westbrook took a step back on being dominate on the court, not that the numbers weren’t there, but the impact surely wasn’t and let’s not forget his inability to hit threes. Paul George aka “Playoff P” left a lot to be desired, streakiest year of his career, a big 34 point performance in Game 5 to just 5 points on 2-16 shooting in Game 6. The third wheel of the group Carmelo Anthony, well, he didn’t fair well, like at all. Melo finished the series averaging 12 points per game, 6 rebounds (.3 assists) on 38% shooting from the field and 21% from three. Steven Adams struggled against Rudy Gobert, it was a sad series to watch on the Thunder front and who knows if we’ll ever see that team again.