It’s impossible to predict the future but sometimes it’s obvious which NBA teams are going to be in bad shape for a long, long time.
While the fate of certain teams rises and falls quickly – sometimes within just one season – other teams are forced to persevere through some hard times for multiple seasons.
Right now there are several teams around the NBA that seem far away from the playoffs – and even further away from the Finals.
Which teams are going to be sitting in playoff exodus for years to come?
3. New Orleans Pelicans
This choice hurts the most because just a few years ago it seemed like the New Orleans Pelicans were boarding a rocket ship to greatness.
When the team drafted Zion Williamson, it seemed like their chances of going all the way in the NBA postseason were incredibly high.
The team attempted to build something strong around Williamson and, for just a brief moment, the squad was something special.
Now the team is in shambles: Williamson is injured again with no timetable for his return while the rest of the team is trying hard and showing some promise but is still last in the West with a record of just 8-21.
Even if Williamson came back this season (which seems less and less likely) the team wouldn’t be anywhere near playoff-ready for a while.
Plus there is always the chance that Williamson does get healthy but decides he doesn’t want to stick around in New Orleans anymore – something that has been rumored since pretty much the start of his career.
Williamson’s uncertainty means that the Pelicans will likely stay at the bottom of the Western Conference for some time.
2. Indiana Pacers
For the last few seasons, the Indiana Pacers have been on the verge of making a strong playoff run.
However, it seems that the team’s front office isn’t happy with the progress and is looking to shake things up in a big way.
The latest rumors say that Pacers president Kevin Pritchard is seriously toying with the idea of blowing up his team and rebuilding it from scratch.
The Pacers are moving toward a rebuild and are receptive to trade talks centered on Caris LeVert and either Domantas Sabonis or Myles Turner 👀
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) December 7, 2021
If those guys are gone, the Pacers will likely become a young, untested team with maybe one or two big names leading them.
A team like that would be good in the long run but they’d struggle in the short term and would take quite a while to find their footing.
Pritchard is aware of that and knows that if he goes down this path, the team will likely be a work in progress for some time.
The hope is that the wait will be worth it and, slowly but surely, the Pacers will come out better than ever before.
1. Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons are the worst team in the NBA and while they might get better in the future, any chance of them in the playoffs within the next few years feels like a huge pipe dream.
The fact that the Pistons are looking to trade off their biggest talent, Jerami Grant, goes to show just how aware they are that this season – and probably the next few – is lost.
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) December 15, 2021
Trading away Grant will get the Pistons some more talent on the squad but it won’t be enough to lift them up too much.
The team is currently dead last for field goal percentage and second-to-last in three-point percentage and points made.
It’s very, very hard to come back from that.
Even if Detroit gets an amazing package for Grant, the problems with this team will take years to fix.
Buckle up, Pistons fans.NEXT: 3 Trades The Knicks Can Make To Save Their Season