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Friday, May 24, 2024

Column: Taking the time to appreciate some good ol’ NBA dumpster fires

<p>Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield, right, hits the ball out of the hands of New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins, center, as Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein defends during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)</p>

Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield, right, hits the ball out of the hands of New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins, center, as Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein defends during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

The 2017-18 NBA season is now well underway, and already we’re witnessing some great things. Rookies across the league are having profound impacts, and several conference powerhouses are coming to form as they work through the growing pains of the early season.

On the flip side, however, there are a few teams that have looked so putrid, the only appropriate phrase to describe them is a “dumpster fire.”

Here are three franchises that have been embarrassingly bad at the game of basketball so far this season:

New Orleans Pelicans

Now in his third year leading New Orleans, coach Alvin Gentry needs Ws now more than ever. Star center DeMarcus Cousins is in a contract year, and mega-star forward Anthony Davis is a top-10 player with not enough talent around him.

Jrue Holiday is a solid point guard, but who else is there besides that? Tony Allen, E'Twaun Moore and ... Josh Smith? That’s how you know they’re struggling to create rotations.

The Pels are hoping the return of Rajon Rondo and Solomon Hill creates an actual starting five, but it’s still nothing to get excited about.

New Orleans is looking at a tough start with sub-.500 record. I know this is an unpopular opinion, but trading Cousins and — dare I say — Davis too, could leave the Pelicans in a solid rebuilding position. We’ve seen what happens when a team waits too long and loses leverage, leaving them in basketball purgatory (*phlegmy cough* Indiana *phlegmy cough*).

Phoenix Suns

Nobody thought the Suns would be a good team this year.

They’re too young. Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender and Josh Jackson are very unrefined.

It’s the way they’ve lost that’s raised even further questions. Three games to open the year giving up more than 120 points while looking pedestrian on offense in two of the three contests is not a good look.

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Having one of your best players in Eric Bledsoe blatantly tweeting “I don’t want to be here” looks even worse.

Learning that coach Earl Watson was fired that same day is just plain ugly.

To be fair, the Suns have won their last two under interim coach Jay Triano, albeit against the Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz. The Kings are in full rebuild and the Jazz lost their best player in Gordon Hayward and have yet to find a consistent scoring replacement.

I’m still going to call the Suns a huge dumpster fire, regardless. Phoenix has a terrible track record with keeping players happy like Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas, and when a player is tweeting that they don’t want to play for the team anymore, it’s a sure sign that the culture hasn’t changed.

Chicago Bulls

Every year, there’s a team almost entirely devoid of talent. This year, it’s the Chicago Bulls.

And internally, there’s not a ton of help to keep the ship moving forward.

Forward Bobby Portis punched teammate Nikola Mirotic directly in the noggin during a practice right before the season opener, causing Mirotic to be hospitalized and suffer some broken bones that you usually want intact inside your face.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the Bulls sloppily hit Portis with just an eight-game suspension.

How can you keep a player who assaulted another player on the roster and expect them to play together?

When guards Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine get into the rotation, maybe it’ll breathe some new life into the United Center, but not enough to stop this raging dumpster fire.

Skyler Lebron is a sports writer. Contact him at slebron@alligator.org.

Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield, right, hits the ball out of the hands of New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins, center, as Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein defends during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

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