NBA Top 4: Coldest offensive starts to the season

Nov 6, 2013 |
The Knicks' offense has struggled along with star Carmelo Anthony.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
The Knicks' offense has struggled along with star Carmelo Anthony.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
The first week of the NBA season often results in some of the clunkiest, clumsiest basketball fans will see all year - and the 2013-14 campaign is no exception.

A handful of teams have had trouble generating much offense and that list includes clubs expected to rank among the highest-scoring units in the league. The sample size may be small, but further struggles may be cause for concern.

Here are four teams that could use some offensive fine-tuning:

New York Knicks (92 points per game; O/U: 2-2-0)

The Knicks are only going to go as far as their up-and-down offense will take them. And through the first four games of the season, that offense has them 1-3 and struggling for answers. Star forward Carmelo Anthony is shooting just 37.1 percent from the field and isn't getting much help from a meager supporting staff. The loss of Tyson Chandler to a fractured fibula will only hamper the Knicks further, since it forces them to either give Amar'e Stoudemire or Kenyon Martin more minutes or play (gasp) Andrea Bargnani in the middle - a move that almost certainly won't end well.

Denver Nuggets (93.3 ppg; O/U: 1-2-0)

The Nuggets look nothing like the team that led the NBA in scoring a season ago, favoring a half-court attack over the up-tempo assault they rode to a 57-win campaign. The departure of Andre Iguodala and a major injury to Danilo Gallinari has severely dampened Denver's ability to run the floor, resulting in far fewer transition baskets. The secondary scoring should improve - no player other than Ty Lawson is averaging more than 11 points per game - but fans hoping for a return to last year's triple-digit explosions will likely be disappointed.

San Antonio Spurs (99.8 ppg; O/U: 2-2-0)

While coming up just shy of 100 points per game is nothing to complain about, it pales slightly in comparison to the 103-point average the Spurs had last season. The explanation for the modest scoring drop is simpler here than in other examples: the Spurs are taking - and making - fewer 3-pointers than they did in 2012-13. San Antonio averaged better than eight 3s on 21.5 attempts last year and are at just 6.5 3-pointers on 17.3 attempts so far this season. If Danny Green (22.2 percent) can find his long-range stroke - and history says he will - the Spurs will be back over 100 soon.

Sacramento Kings (94.5 ppg; O/U: 2-2-0)

This seems more like the real Kings, as opposed to the often-dysfunctional but strangely-effective unit that boasted a Top-10 scoring average last season. With their most accurate perimeter shooter from last season (Tyreke Evans) now playing for New Orleans, guard Isaiah Thomas has actually emerged as a solid No. 1 option, averaging better than 20 points on 49 percent shooting. It's the rest of the key players - aside from all-world center DeMarcus Cousins - that have regressed, resulting in the Kings shooting just 41 percent from the field. Expect it to get worse, as Thomas isn't likely to stay hot all year.
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