The All-Star weekend is upon us, and even though we are well past the midway point of the season, this is usually the time where teams take a break to reminisce what they have done wrong up until this point. With the deadline also nearing, it's the perfect time to evaluate teams since GMs and owners will be doing the same thing to determine whether they need to make moves or stay put.
Nonetheless, there have been about five teams that have been underperforming this season, not exactly meeting expectations 53 to 57 games into the year.
5. Toronto Raptors
Since Dwane Casey took over during the 2011-2012 season, the Toronto Raptors have been improving each year, but that trend may end this season. With almost the same losses as last year, the Raptors are no longer considered a top two team in the East. Their defense has faltered this year, which has them placed in the fifth seed. Toronto's recent struggles has urged the front office to pull a trade for Serge Ibaka, hoping for better results for the team after the All-Star break.
4. Charlotte Hornets
In the beginning of the season, the Charlotte Hornets looked like a team on the rise led by Kemba Walker. But, suddenly, they have collapsed and fallen into mediocrity, sitting outside the playoff picture with an abysmal 24-31 record. The Hornets were 14-games above .500 last year and pushed the Miami Heat to seven games in the first round of the playoffs as the sixth seed. It looked like they were trending upward, but they may be in danger of missing the playoffs this season.
3. New York Knicks
The New York Knicks had the same expectations as the Bulls coming into the season. After Derrick Rose claimed they were a "super team," people bought into the hype that Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Joakim Noah, and Courtney Lee were going to carry the team to a top record. Unfortunately, the pieces haven't fit together and New York could very likely miss the playoffs. On top of all the losing, there is way too much drama surrounding the organization, poising the team's success further more.
2. Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls lost some key figures during the summer but replaced those players with Robin Lopez, Dwyane Wade, and Rajon Rondo. The trio of Rondo, Wade, and Jimmy Butler hasn't gone as planned, though. They are simply a mediocre team, which even the players have admitted to. Being under .500 is quite disappointing when most people believed they could be a superior Eastern Conference foe. Luckily, the East isn't as strong, allowing the Bulls to carry the seventh seed despite being two games under .500.
1. Portland Trail Blazers
It's interesting how the Portland Trail Blazers have gone from being the most surprising team last season to one of the most disappointing teams this season. After shocking the NBA world by clinching a playoff berth, the Blazers made it all the way to the second round of the playoffs, where they were eliminated by the Golden State Warriors. However, with the way they have been performing this season, there is a chance that they miss the postseason. I guess they've been unable to play with heavy expectations.