USA Today Sports

NBA Top 4: Coldest offensive starts to the season

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.

If you have any feedback or suggestions for our Editorial Team, please contact us at Editorial

            share   SHARE   rss   RSS FEED   email   EMAIL   print   PRINT

There haven't been any comments posted on this article. Be the first to respond!

You are currently not logged in.
Login | Signup | Help
You must be logged in to post a comment.

Top Response

There have been no comments on this article. Be the first to respond!