The Over and Back Classic NBA Podcast returns with an episode on teams that added a big star (or more) but severely underperformed.
Two examples this year with the Brooklyn Nets being swept in the first round after gaining (and losing) James Harden (and never getting Ben Simmons to replace him) and the Los Angeles Lakers winning only 33 games after adding Russell Westbrook.
Teams we’ll focus on this episode:
NBA championship contenders who underperformed
1971 Atlanta Hawks
“Pistol” Pete Maravich arriving in town should have kickstarted a new basketball dynasty in Atlanta but tensions around their new star and an aging team resulted in regression and in-fighting.
1999 Houston Rockets
Fresh off his sixth NBA Championship with the Chicago Bulls, Scottie Pippen joins Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley on the Houston Rockets. What could possibly go wrong? Well, everything! Barkley and Pippen clash, the lockout looms large and after one year the honeymoon is over.
1975 Memphis Sounds
Desperate to make professional basketball a thing in Memphis, the Sounds add three of the top four players from the Indiana Pacers dynasty: Roger Brown, Mel Daniels and Freddie Lewis. It should have worked… but it didn’t. They finished 27-57!
2013 Los Angeles Lakers
Now, this is going to be fun. Or not. Nope, it’s not going to be fun at all. Dwight Howard and Steve Nash join Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol on the Los Angeles Lakers. People consider it one of the greatest lineups ever assembled. Coaching changes, chemistry issues and injuries derail the team after just one season.
1976 Washington Bullets
The competitive Washington Bullets add six-time NBA All-Star Dave Bing to the team in hopes of keeping their competitive window alive. Instead, it slams shut with a hugely disappointing 48-win season.
2014 Brooklyn Nets
In one of the most lopsided NBA trades in history, the Boston Celtics acquire years worth of draft picks for aging veterans Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry. You can’t stop Father Time and this Nets team found that out the hard way.
1976 and 1977 New York Knicks
The New York Knicks add star Spencer Haywood and Bob McAdoo to their still-talented lineup in hopes of returning to their early 70s glory. The team unfortunately finds out you can only play with one basketball.
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