USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tom Thibodeau and Jimmy Butler
- You want dysfunction? Turn on the NBA each night and you're sure to see plenty of it.
- But even in a league that thrives off drama, the Tom Thibodeau-Jimmy Butler stand-off in Minnesota is on a different level.
- And while we're on the topic of sabotage from within, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention Mr. Dysfunction himself ... JR Smith.
- Here are all 30 NBA teams ranked from most to least dysfunctional.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves
Where do we even start? “General Soreness,” “Precautionary Rest” … Jimmy Butler and the franchise are at the point that they’re running out of ways to describe his absence.
It’s like Woj on draft night having to resort to “tantalized” to tip-toe around the NO SPOILERS rule enforced by the NBA. What’s next: “DNP-Can’t win with these KATs”? This is just not working.
The biggest problem, as it’s always been, isn’t that Jimmy/Karl-Anthony Towns/Andrew Wiggins can’t get along on or off the court, or that they can’t find a worthy trade destination for Butler — it’s that Tom Thibodeau is the President of Basketball Operations.
Not just the coach, the president.
You can’t just fire him, replace, and go about your merry way like most other teams do. You have to gut the entire front office and replace the coaching staff … of a playoff team!!!! in the middle of the season!!!!
It is an impossible thought — until you realize just how dire the situation is.
Owner Glen Taylor can punt on the season. They’re never beating the Warriors four out of seven times in the playoffs anyway.
But what he can’t punt on is letting the trade deadline pass without getting something in return for Butler, who is surely going to walk away July 1 at 12:01 a.m. if he’s still employed by the Timberwolves.
This will require a full midseason gutting and liquidation of everything and everyone not named Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins … which is, shockingly, the best and only option.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
JR Smith is tweeting support for his own rookie’s competition.
JR Smith isn’t even hiding it that he wants out…
This team is a dog pooping on the carpet to protest not being fed.
It took the Cavs a week to figure out if Larry Drew even wanted to take over as head coach after Ty Lue was fired.
The front office is allegedly welching on handshake deals with the team’s veterans regarding trades if LeBron ever left.
Oh and by the way they are 1-9.
LeBron moved out — he took the dog, car, furniture and kids with him and left behind only an air mattress in the living room.
The only reason why they’re not No. 1? That 2019 first-round pick they promised Atlanta in the Kyle Korver trade is top-10 protected, baby, cha ching!
3. Los Angeles Lakers
The second-best player on a team with LeBron James is … JaVale McGee? OK that’s fine … JaVale is a two-time champion and will be in the running for the Most Improved Player award at the end of the season, so we can’t make fun of him and his bloopers anymore, but … JaVale McGee? That is the basketball equivalent of Brick Tamland showing up to the Anchorman fight with only a hand grenade.
Luke Walton is reportedly having heated exchanges with Magic Johnson, who swears Luke’s job is safe.
How did the Lakers respond? With the worst quarter in franchise history, going down 42-17 to a Toronto Raptors team without Kawhi Leonard.
LeBron blew a game at the line and Kobe was a worldwide trend on Twitter within 20 minutes.
Honestly, this is only like a 5.5 on the 1-10 “panic” barometer for LeBron, who has experienced much worse than this throughout his career. The Lakers are 4-6, they’re not 0-10.
However, between the brawl, the blowout, and the bricked free throws — this Lakers team is on thin ice with the fanbase, which will expect a playoff appearance at the BARE minimum.
Will Magic Johnson sacrifice some of the 2019 cap space he worked so valiantly to get to bring in some help? Wasn’t next summer the goal this entire time anyway? Only time will tell.
4. Washington Wizards
“Ah you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but blinding!”
Bane was most definitely a Wizards fan. It’s too perfect, because it was just a year and a half ago that, after starting the regular season 3-9, Washington finished 49-33.
Things are critical right now and we have the team’s stars outing colleagues …
… while dealing with their own alleged issues:
Scott Brooks (+150) is the favorite to be the next NBA coach let go. The darkness is as blinding as ever.
5. Dallas Mavericks
When you spent an entire weekend driving around looking for DeAndre Jordan in 2015 and after finally getting him to sign he does this with you sitting in the front row:
6. Phoenix Suns
- Fire GM nine days before the season starts? Check.
- Go into the season without a true starting point guard? Check.
- Highest paid player on the team is a 3-point specialist who you can’t even call a matador on defense because it would be an insult to matadors and he’s shooting 25% from beyond the arc and not even starting anymore? Check.
- Whiffed so badly on a top-five draft pick a couple years ago that you’ve already declined his rookie extension? Check.
- Biggest free agency signing is probably going to be traded before the All-Star Game? Check.
7. Houston Rockets
The third-lowest scoring team with the worst field goal shooting percentage in the entire league? Even after they’ve just won three in a row? What is going on here?
Maybe letting Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute walk wasn’t the best idea, but the Rockets will figure it out as long as they continue to show up to games with playoff intensity and stop being so Melo.
8. Miami Heat
How is it possible for the league’s highest payroll to be this boring? Do not trade Josh Richardson under any circumstances even if it means Jimmy.
9. Orlando Magic
They don’t care so neither do I.
THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WHY ARE YOU ASKING
10. Oklahoma City Thunder
Serious question: Other than offseason parties, what is this team actually good at? How is it possible that the Thunders’ 7-foot Khal Drogo center is shooting only 73.6% at the rim?
The only playing time and scoring Andre Roberson has recorded this season is on social media, and now Russ is out with an ankle injury, too? I just don’t know how this is a playoff team without Muscle Flexbrook.
11. Philadelphia 76ers
Traded Jayson Tatum and what is probably going to be a Top 10 pick (2019 Kings 1RD) for Markelle Fultz and continue to HODL Dario Saric stock, which has a graph that looks like a double diamond ski slope.
How long are the 76ers going to keep thinking they can get away with having Markelle in the starting lineup? Between him and Simmons shooting like Carlton Banks from anywhere beyond 12 feet, defenses can just sit in the paint and play duck duck goose around Embiid whenever he catches the ball in the post. It is excruciating to watch knowing their spacing problems can instantly be solved by inserting JJ Redick, but, they can’t because Fultz’s problems appear to be as much mental as anything else and who knows what another benching will do to him.
It’s OK, though, Joel is as funny as ever on social media.
12. Sacramento Kings
6-4! Let’s go! Fans have to be thrilled this team has finally secured the Bagley, and the Doncic of being a playoff contender has finally been scratched.
13. Boston Celtics
Worst overall offense in the NBA, at the moment, by a noticeable margin … Gordon Hayward struggling to get acclimated following the injury … Kyrie just now getting back to his old self … best player on the team has been Marcus Morris … yet the Celtics are still somehow 6-4.
All hail Brad Stevens, you mere mortals.
14. Brooklyn Nets
If you disregard the fact that they are headed for a double-digit lottery pick and that it’s going to be impossible to sign free agents this summer without drastically overpaying them, Sean Marks has done an absolutely wonderful job constructing this team and pulling them out of the Celtics trade hole of death.
Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen are the cornerstones of the franchise moving forward, do we clap or cry?
15. Detroit Pistons
From 4-0 to 4-5 and now getting called Bums on Twitter by Embiid. Rife comes at you fast.
16. Charlotte Hornets
Imagine these two things being true: 1) Kemba Walker is on your team. 2) The five highest-paid players your roster are Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo, Marvin Williams, Cody Zeller and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist — collectively holding 67.5% of the entire cap space.
17. Chicago Bulls
Nobody should be playing besides Wendell Carter Jr., Chandler Hutchison, Bobby Portis, Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn and Cam Payne. Especially Cam Payne, do not take him out. As a matter of fact, start running the offense around him. I promise you’ll thank me later.
18. Atlanta Hawks
This may actually work out fine! And by fine I mean being completely irrelevant for the next half decade where no one questions if trading Luka Doncic for Trae Young was the worst decision in basketball history.
19. Memphis Grizzlies
$49.2 million still owed to Chandler Parsons. Put this man on the cover of Fortune! How does he do it? America’s No. 1 businessman.
20. Portland Trail Blazers
Surrounding Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in their primes with $80.7 million worth of Evan Turner, Myers Leonard and Moe Harkless through 2020 … no wonder this team is always on the couch during the holiday season.
21. New Orleans Pelicans
How long can Anthony Davis hold it before the next trade rumor?
IT’S ALL PART OF THE PLAN
22. San Antonio Spurs
Of course the Kawhi deal worked out perfectly for the Spurs. What else did you expect? If Gregg Popovich ever calls you with a trade offer, hang up the phone immediately and tomahawk it through the window before it’s too late.
23. New York Knicks
This has to be the first time in 20 years the Knicks aren’t a top-10 dysfunction team. Dare I say, they … are doing things the right way!?
The days of Joakim Noah, Steve Francis, Tracy McGrady, Allan Houston, Jerome James, Eddy Curry, Stephon Marbury, Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith (sad face), Amare Stoudemire, Othella Harrington, Renaldo Balkman, Mike Sweetney, Andrea Bargnani, Malik Rose, Mardy Collins, Travis Knight, Phil Jackson (do you really want me to keep going? Because I can do this all day) are no more!
Allonzo Trier is the next Dwyane Wade, Mitchell Robinson is the next Rudy Gobert, Frank Ntilikina is a very polite Avery Bradley, Kevin Knox is Magic Johnson with range … oh and once they trade Courtney Lee, they’ll have enough cap space available for a max contract next s“`ummer to offer Kevin Durant.
I’m sorry you’re going to need to speak louder, I can’t hear your complaints about this being a biased opinion there are too many Knicks ping pong balls bouncing.
24. Utah Jazz
They have stumbled out of the gate, but nobody else in the league is even close to matching how ideal this team’s contract commitment situation is.
Most important players locked up long-term with fair compensation, young stars all on rookie deals, expiring contracts galore …
Take note, NBA GMs, this is how it’s done.
25. Los Angeles Clippers
How the hell did the Clippers pull this off without anyone noticing? And they have only $29 million committed on the books for next season if they don’t retain Avery Bradley’s option?
They’re going to get Kawhi and Jimmy this summer, aren’t they …?
WE TRIED TO TELL YOU
26. Denver Nuggets
They’re blazing through opponents and leaving defenses up in smoke without Will Barton, Isaiah Thomas or Michael Porter Jr. in the lineup.
Their rotation is 11 deep of players who could start on pretty much any other team not named the Warriors.
They started the season keeping their first three opponents under 100 points including said Golden State.
Jamal Murray and Gary Harris comprise the most electric backcourt in the league that nobody knows about.
Jokic just recorded a double-double with just rebounds and assists.
They also have a dude on their team who’s first name seamlessly fits into Huncho Jack.
Life is good.
27. Indiana Pacers
The biggest problem this team has right now is figuring out who its best player is — Myles Turner or Victor Oladipo. The #FirstWorldProblems of the NBA.
28. Milwaukee Bucks
No more Jabari clogging up the paint. Instead, Budenholzer is actually running on offense that prioritizes Giannis galloping in open space. Every Bucks fan on Earth feels like Andy Dufresne after he makes it to the end of the Shawshank Prison sewer.
IT’S FIVE O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE
29. Toronto Raptors
Every major transaction from the summer paid off massive dividends and the Raptors look like the unanimous best team in the East. What could possibly go wrong?
30. Golden State Warriors
There is only one man on this planet who can stop this team from descending from the clouds like the riders of the apocalypse and reeking doom on the basketball world, and that man is DeMarcus Cousins.