It’s Championship or Bust for These Four Teams

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Some teams are happy with making the playoffs or going deep in the playoffs but not winning it all. Teams like the Pelicans or Grizzlies are younger teams that are fighting for the 8th seed. Making the playoffs for them would be an accomplishment in itself. Teams like the Jazz and Heat would be disappointed if they don’t win it all but it wouldn’t be considered a lost season.

Then there are teams like the Houston Rockets, LA Lakers, LA Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks. Their seasons is championship or bust. Making a deep playoff run will not cut it for their front offices or fans. These teams were not put together to finish in second place. Here is why each of these teams seasons will be a lost one if they don’t win a NBA Champhionship

Los Angeles Lakers Championship or bust

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The Lakers currently have the best record in the Western Conference. For a franchise that has known nothing but winning it has been almost a decade of futility. Even when LeBron James decided to bring his talents to the west coast the team struggled to stay afloat in his first season. The last time the Lakers made the playoffs was 2013 when they were swept by the Spurs. Everything changed this off-season when the Lakers traded for Anthony Davis. With Davis in the fold the Lakers are currently the favorite to come out of the west.

Davis by all accounts will sign a new deal with the Lakers after the season but this is not guaranteed. The reason the Lakers need to win this year is two-fold. If the Lakers fizzle out in the playoffs Davis may change his mind and look for a better situation. Also, James has been spectacular this year but father time catches up with everyone. Even the great Lebron James can’t play forever. If the Lakers fail to win this year time may begin to run out on James title chances. Teams in the Western Conference are only getting bette. They are younger teams that are not to far off from being contenders themselves.

Los Angeles Clippers Championship or bust

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This franchise has been around since the 1970s and has won only four playoff series in their history so why would this be a championship or bust season? The reason is simple. You don’t trade for Paul George and bring in Kawhi Leonard to just make the playoffs. Especially considering you have been the little brother in town for decades. The Clippers made the biggest off-season splash when they brought in the two All-Stars. The Clippers have never made it to a conference finals but when you have Leonard on your team a two time NBA Champion you expect nothing less than a ring. Especially considering he was able to lead another franchise in the Raptors that had never even been to the NBA Finals before he arrived.

With Montrezl Harrell, Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris contract all up after this season the time is now for the Clippers. To get out of the Lakers shadow a championship this year is a must.

Houston Rockets Championship or bust

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The Houston Rockets have not won an NBA Championship in over 20 years. Since that time there have been Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming years. After that, it was the Kyle Lowry .500 teams and now, of course, the James Harden era. Harden, of course, has been with the Rockets since 2013 after being traded by the Thunder to the Rockets. In his wildest dreams, Daryl Morey never would have thought he was getting a perennial MVP candidate. Harden has been a part of many triumphs but also several failures. After the latest playoff disappointment, the Rockets made a blockbuster trade. Russell Westbrook was brought in via a trade that sent Chris Paul to the Thunder.

This trade signified the Rockets were going all-in on this year. They have traded away several draft picks and are banking on Westbrook and Harden finally being able to get over the hump this year. The reason this is championship or bust for the Rockets is that there is no Warriors team in their way. The team that has knocked them out four out of five seasons is at the bottom of the standings. If Harden and Westbrook cant make it happen this year it will be a completely lost season.

Milwaukee Bucks Championship or bust

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The Bucks have risen to the top of the Eastern Conference the last couple of years. For a while now they were the new exciting team that was fun to watch. Now with the possibility of another MVP award for Giannis Antetokounmpo, the expectations are high. After a disappointing end to last season championship run, everyone is expecting the Bucks to take that next step. The Bucks are the favorite out east most people expect them to be in the Finals and they are on pace for 70 wins. Of course, Antetokounmpo is still young and has many great years to come but once you get to a certain level age doesn’t matter.

The Bucks have not come close to the championship in almost two decades before last year. This however is their best chance since 2000-01 season if they fall short this year it will not be seen as growing pains but a bust considering their record, having an MVP and expectations going into the year.

Conclusion

Yes there is only one NBA Champion every year. Their are plenty of teams that never expect to even sniff a title. These four teams expect more. Rather its because of their current talent or because expectations they expect nothing less than hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy in June.

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