The Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats, Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz, New Orleans Hornets and the Los Angeles Clippers are teams you seldom see on ESPN, and never see on ABC. They are the bottom feeders of the NBA, teams whoís futures are almost as bleak as their recent past. In fact only Milwaukee, New Orleans and Utah have made the playoffs in the past 5 years and all have made quick first round exits. This leads to the question, should the NBA downsize?
Last June the NBA welcomed its 30th team to a league already in desperate need of talent. The Bobcats did nothing more then dilute the already watered down talent pool. The Bobcats are experiencing a common occurrence among expansion teams in sports, a real bad first season. In fact only the 1966 expansion Chicago Bulls have ever made the playoffs; this is true in all 4 of the major North American sports leagues. Also no NBA expansion team since the Portland Trailblazers in 1970-71 have won more then 25 games.
The NBA needed expansion in the late 1980s, the influx of great players was at a peek, and so the NBA expanded to Miami, Orlando, Minnesota and Charlotte. Three of those teams went on to feel success shortly after expansion Miami making the playoffs after their third year, Charlotte after their 4th year, and Orlando after their 4th year. All had decent success in the playoffs, Orlando even making the NBA finals in 1995, six years after being granted an expansion team. The second fastest to ever do so, only the only the world Champion 1971-72 Bucks did better. But now comes the downside to expansion; The Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves experienced 7 losing seasons before finally making the playoffs. The second longest streak only to be outdone by the New Orleans/Utah Jazz who didnít go to the post season in their first 9 years of exsistance.
Despite the Wolves shortcomings, the NBA expanded again in 1995-96 to Toronto, and Vancouver. The Raptors showed signs of being a decent team from the start winning 21 games and making it to playoffs in their 4th year. The Grizzlies on the other hand endured season after season of horrible records. Which were promptly followed by bad draft picks and a move to Memphis, Tennessee. The Grizzlies finally made the playoffs in the 03-04 season, eight years after expansion. Now we have the Charlotte Bobcats, who are not only on pace to break the 15-67 records of Miami, Vancouver, San Diego, Cleveland and Dallas. But could be one of the worst teams in NBA history.
With the facts in place its easy to see that the NBA needs to do something, and downsizing should be the key. the first team to get rid of would be the LA Clippers. The team is northing more then a farm club for the other teams. Their last playoff appearance was in 1997, their last consecutive playoff appearances was 92, and 93. Theyíve never been to the playoffs more then 3 straight years, and the last time they advanced to the second round was 1977 as the Buffalo Braves.
The Next team to go would be the Atlanta Hawks. The team has never made a good draft choice and kept it; even the teams signature player Dominique Wilkins was drafted by Utah then traded to Atlanta. The team seems to always want to keep contracts to a minimum, and they havenít made the playoffs in nearly 6 years.
The Warriors would also need to go, Despite their historic past. The team hasnít made the playoffs since 1994, and havenít been an NBA power since the late 1980s. They like the Clippers are being used as a farm team. In fact all stars Antoine Jamison, Vince Carter, and Gilbert Arenas were either drafted by the Warriors, or played with the Warriors. The team just makes bad decisions on a too regular basis.
The Final team that would have to go is the New Orleans Hornets. The team cannot support itself, it canít keep fans happy no matter were they are. And after just moving from Charlotte to New Orleans may move again. The City of New Orleans is notorious for not supporting its professional sports teams. If the Hornets move, or are disbanded they will be the second NBA team the city has failed to support, and the 4th professional basketball team overall.
I know not many of you like the idea of downsizing and passably losing your favorite team, but it would be in the best interest of the NBA to do so. And the talent from these teams could be drafted onto other teams making them better, and the overall quality of the NBA better.