Roundtable: Most disappointing teams

Originally Published: April 27, 2010
ESPN.com

MavsD. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty ImagesThe Mavs were expected by many to contend for the Western crown, not flame out in the first round.

Two rounds of the playoffs are nearly complete. Which teams have been the postseason's biggest disappointments so far? Our experts weigh in.

Abbott

Henry Abbott, TrueHoop


1. Charlotte Bobcats
If you're the NBA's best defensive team but can't win a playoff game, your offense is abysmal. That's more or less how the Bobcats' offense looked.

2. Utah Jazz
During the regular season, the Jazz were exceptionally scary. In addition to being physical at all times, they moved the ball beautifully behind Deron Williams and shredded some of the NBA's best defenses.

But since their key big men suffered injuries, the enormous Lakers have frustrated them to no end. A season that could have ended with a bang instead seems to be closing with a whimper.

3. Denver Nuggets
One of the NBA's best regular-season teams had yet another "coulda-shoulda-woulda" postseason. With George Karl undergoing cancer treatments and watching from home, Adrian Dantley took over a tough-to-control team that played its best defense only sometimes and generally avoided the discipline and teamwork that made its offense most effective.


Adande

J.A. Adande, ESPN.com


1. Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks had the second-highest payroll in the league this season. Of the NBA's seven most expensive rosters, only the Mavs and Knicks didn't reach the second round of the playoffs. That's not the company you want to keep.

2. Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks shouldn't be here. And by "here" I mean the second round of the playoffs, not this list of disappointing teams. They advanced past Round 1 only because the Bucks weren't ready for the moment (Brandon Jennings was tweeting about his nervousness the night before Game 7) and allowed Atlanta to slide by.

3. Denver Nuggets
With their coach off getting cancer treatment and players coming and going with injuries, no team had more legitimate excuses. Still, Denver looked like a sorry excuse for a high seed. Advice to the Nuggets: Next time you're in the playoffs, try playing a little defense.


Arnovitz

Kevin Arnovitz, TrueHoop


1. Dallas Mavericks
No team has polarized prognosticators more than the Mavs. This postseason, the skeptics won the debate. Dallas shot poorly, turned the ball over and generally endured rigor mortis in its half-court offense, playing well below its potential. As a result, the Mavs will have a lot of difficult roster decisions to make during the offseason.

2. Atlanta Hawks
How can a team that has maintained the same core of players for several seasons demonstrate no cohesion? The Hawks notched a moral loss in their seven-game sleepwalk against Milwaukee and now risk turning in one of the most humiliating performances ever in a conference semifinal series.

There isn't a darker cloud in the NBA than the one that hangs over Atlanta. The Hawks' incompetence is breeding all kinds of ugly items: Joe Johnson's potentially devaluing himself as a free agent, the crowd's merciless groaning at Philips Arena and Mike Woodson's tenuous status. This doesn't figure to end well.

3. Denver Nuggets
Denver featured an impressive collection of individual talent, but its team defense didn't work on any level. Against Utah, the Nuggets were far too easy to score on -- a product of strange decision-making on the court, bad timing and a lack of communication. Just like Dallas and Atlanta, Denver will do some soul-searching this summer to examine whether it truly has the pieces in place to contend.


Broussard

Chris Broussard, ESPN The Magazine


1. Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks have nothing to show for their active summer and blockbuster midseason trade. No matter whom they bring in, they always seem to come up soft.

2. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets' demise is somewhat understandable, what with coach George Karl's bout with cancer and Kenyon Martin's late-season knee injury. Still, it was a disappointing finish.

3. Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks' horrible postseason could cost Joe Johnson millions and Mike Woodson his job. No one expected Atlanta to reach the Eastern Conference finals, but the Hawks were expected to go out like warriors in six games, not cream puffs who could barely edge the injury-riddled Bucks in Round 1.


Sheridan

Chris Sheridan, ESPN.com


1. Atlanta Hawks
They got their doors blown off at home in Game 3 against Orlando, as they were booed by their own fans in the first minute of their biggest home game in a decade and looked like slugs in comparison to the energetic Magic.

2. Dallas Mavericks
How will we remember them in this postseason? Their owner's hatred of the Spurs? Or how old and ineffective Jason Kidd and Jason Terry looked? Or Dirk Nowitzki's being prompted to opt out after another first-round loss?

3. Cleveland Cavaliers
Let's put it this way: You know who is not scared of them because they know they're deeper and can find exploitable matchups on each and every possession? The Orlando Magic, who are looking like the class of the East.


Stein

Marc Stein, ESPN.com


1. Atlanta Hawks
I can't decide what's more disappointing: Atlanta letting a depleted Milwaukee team take their first-round series to seven games & or the Hawks' total surrender once they realized they couldn't hang with Orlando.

Or maybe I'm just angry at myself for ever buying into the early-season notion that the East just might have four elite teams.

2. Charlotte Bobcats
Unlike Atlanta, Charlotte was armed with the requisite size and unquestioned coaching expertise to make the Magic work for at least five or six games. Or so we were led to believe going into that sweep. Dwight Howard's struggles to stay on the floor make the Bobcats' inability to win even one game that much more of a letdown.

3. Dallas Mavericks
San Antonio's utter inability to deal with Phoenix has quickly hushed all that Greatest Seventh Seed of All Time talk, which was the Mavs' only source of consolation after getting blasted out of the first round. Denver's first-round ouster was a big disappointment, too, but expectations for the Nuggets were diminished before the playoffs even started because of the absence of George Karl and the compromised effectiveness of a hobbled Kenyon Martin. No such alibis for the Mavs.


Thorpe

David Thorpe, Scouts Inc.


1. Miami Heat
There is no avoiding that they should have put up a better fight against an aging Celtics team.

2. San Antonio Spurs
They had all season to develop firepower from their bench -- the bench that got outplayed so badly in their two home losses.

3. Denver Nuggets
I always say that it's a coaches' league. But even without George Karl, Denver should have been able to rally together and fight for its ailing coach.

Check out the most disappointing players of the postseason.