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Mark Strotman for Bookies.com

By Mark Strotman | | 5 mins

Ranking The NBA's Most Disappointing Teams Of The Past Decade

Ranking The NBA's Most Disappointing Teams Of The Past Decade

Favorites are usually good NBA betting wagers in the NBA. Dating back to 1996, the lowest seed in a conference to win the NBA Finals was 3, and the last 26 NBA champions have an average conference seed of 1.6. The teams that are supposed to win in the NBA...usually win.

Key word? Usually. Just ask the 2022 Los Angeles Lakers. LeBron James and Co. began the year with championship expectations (+425 title odds on most betting apps) but were knocked out of playoff contention on Tuesday in a loss to the Suns. It’s arguably the most disappointing season from a title contender over the last decade. From +425 preseason title odds to not even making the Play-In Tournament. That’s about as bad as it gets.

L.A. may lead the way, but the Lakers aren’t alone. We’re looking at the biggest disappointments of the last decade as it relates to their championship expectations and eventual year-end result. We tried to exclude teams that were ravaged by injury too badly, but it’s also true that the best ability is availability.

Most Disappointing NBA Teams, 2012-2022

Note that we only took into account teams from the 2011-12 season and beyond. And teams like the 2016 Golden State Warriors may have disappointed by not winning it all, but 73 wins and an NBA Finals berth is still mighty impressive. This list is in chronological order.

SeasonTeamProjected Win TotalActual Win TotalPreseason Title OddsFinish
2011-12Mavericks44.536+8501st Rnd Exit
2012-13Lakers58.545+2751st Rnd Exit
2012-13Celtics51.541+25001st Rnd Exit
2013-14Bulls56.548+1000Missed Playoffs
2014-15Thunder5345+600Missed Playoffs
2015-16Rockets56.541+15001st Rnd Exit
2015-16Bulls50.542+1600Missed Playoffs
2017-18Spurs5547+18001st Rnd Exit
2018-19Pelicans45.533+4000Missed Playoffs
2018-19Lakers48.537+1800Missed Playoffs
2020-21Raptors42.527+2000Missed Playoffs
2020-21Celtics44.536+14001st Rnd Exit
2021-22Lakers52.531+425Missed Playoffs

NBA futures odds and win totals taken from the day before the season started, and courtesy of Sports Odds History.

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Ranking Our Top 5 Most Disappointing NBA Teams

5. 2012 Dallas Mavericks

Dallas returned Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Shawn Marion from its championship squad, and they added Vince Carter in the offseason. Though Miami’s super team was still the favorite during the lockout-shortened season, Dallas was expected to compete.

Instead, the Mavs started 20-11 before a woeful finish to the regular season and a first-round sweep at the hands of the young Oklahoma City Thunder. Heading into this year’s postseason, the Mavs still have not advanced past the first round since underperforming in 2012.


RELATED: Toronto Raptors NBA Title Odds: Should You Bet Them?


4. 2014 Chicago Bulls

After missing an entire season recovering from ACL surgery, a healthy Derrick Rose was expected to lead the Bulls back to contention. Instead, Rose tore his meniscus 10 games into the season and never returned. Still, a team with Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy and Taj Gibson could have fared better than a five-game series loss to a 44-win Wizards team.

The saddest part was the Bulls had the NBA’s second best defense that year. Even a marginal offense would have gotten them by. Instead, they ranked 28th and scored 69 points in their season-ending loss at home. From a 56.5 expected win total to 69 points. Rough.

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3. 2014 Brooklyn Nets

Remember this disaster? Adding Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko to a core of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez was supposed to form the next super team. A $190 million roster (an absurd number at the time) instead won just 44 games and earned the six seed in the East.

But LeBron and the Heat were waiting in Round 2, disposing of Brooklyn in five games. Brooklyn never did anything, the Celtics took all their draft picks, and it took eight seasons for the Nets to recover.

2. 2013 Los Angeles Lakers

We all know the famous Sports Illustrated cover. “Now This Is Going To Be Fun.” Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol. What could go wrong? Well, everything.

With +275 preseason title odds on betting sites, trailing only Miami, the Lakers won 45 uninspiring games before being swept by the Spurs in Round 1 by 12, 11, 31 and 21 points. It truly was the end of an era, as the Lakers broke up that offseason and didn’t make the postseason again until 2020.

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1. 2022 Los Angeles Lakers

Adding Russell Westbrook to a core of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who were a year removed from winning a title, was supposed to be a match made in heaven. Instead, the Lakers’ aging supporting cast provided next to nothing, Davis and James suffered significant injuries, and Westbrook had an embarrassing season across the board.

Even with the NBA expanding to include two additional teams in each conference to the Play-In Tournament, the Lakers couldn’t even achieve that. Maybe they weren’t title contenders, but expecting them to be better than the Zion-less Pelicans and Kawhi-less Clippers wasn’t exactly a tall order. And they couldn’t get it done.

About the Author

Mark Strotman for Bookies.com
Mark Strotman
Mark is a veteran sports betting journalist who has covered the Bulls and the NBA since 2012. His work has appeared on ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, The Chicago Tribune and Yahoo Sports. He regularly provides NBA betting picks, as well as in-depth sportsbook reviews and the latest promo codes for all the major sports gambling operators, including Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and more.