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Reasons for hope for all 14 teams that missed 2024 playoffs

Despite missing the 2024 playoffs, these teams have cause to believe things might turn around quickly in 2024-25.

The Warriors and Hawks are each facing a key offseason after missing the 2024 playoffs.

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We’re nearly a week into the 2024 NBA postseason, and for the 14 teams sitting at home watching, the 2024-25 campaign can’t arrive soon enough.

The 2023-24 regular season featured five 60-loss teams, which registers as the most since 1997-98 when six teams suffered 60 defeats or more. But a glance at the current playoff bracket should provide hope. The current field features five teams that failed last season to reach the postseason.

Perhaps some of these squads are ripe for a similar renewal in 2024-25.

Atlanta Hawks

2023-24 record: 36-46

Missing the postseason for the first time since 2020 due, in part, to missing the seventh-most games because of injuries, Atlanta can now prepare for a crucial offseason. This draft marks the last time the Hawks will have control over their first-round pick until 2028. Should Atlanta decide to split up its backcourt, it can reconfigure the roster around a young group that includes Saddiq Bey, Jalen Johnson, Kobe Bufkin, Onyeka Okongwu and AJ Griffin.

Brooklyn Nets 

2023-24 record: 32-50

The Nets continue to deal with the fallout from their super-team title chase with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden and don’t control their first-round pick for the next three seasons. With 11 players under contract for next season, new coach Jordi Fernandez inherits a decent talent pool. Cam Thomas more than doubled his scoring average from last season. That should give Brooklyn optimism about his fit with Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson.

Charlotte Hornets

2023-24 record: 21-61

Charlotte has the league’s fifth-youngest roster featuring eight players age 23 or younger. So, as the Hornets conduct their coaching search they’ll likely seek a candidate specializing in player development. There’s concern about LaMelo Ball missing 58 games over the last two seasons due to ankle injuries. The 22-year-old said he’ll use the summer to add strength to prevent injuries. It’s also worth noting Charlotte added two future first-round picks at the trade deadline.

Chicago Bulls

2023-24 record: 39-43

We all saw the ascension of Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu. There have also been some positive developments with injured point guard Lonzo Ball, who hasn’t played since January 2022 due to three separate knee surgeries. Ball has received clearance to run and cut, and it’s believed he can return around August or September if he doesn’t suffer any setbacks. If Ball succeeds in his recovery, could you imagine him defending on the perimeter with Alex Caruso?

Coby White emerged, but injuries limited the Bulls' potential. With key players entering free agency, is it an opening to rebuild?

Detroit Pistons

2023-24 record: 14-68

Cade Cunningham improved in Year 3, boosting his scoring, assists, field goal percentage and 3-point percentage (he shot 39.6% from deep after the All-Star break). Detroit can add more talent around him with another lottery pick. Plus, the Pistons have the cap space to upgrade in free agency. Six of Detroit’s recent first-round picks are still playing on their first contracts, which helps financial flexibility.

Golden State Warriors

2023-24 record: 46-36

Maybe they’ve slowed down a step. But Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson can still take the Warriors deep into the postseason. Hopefully, the front office finds a way to bring back Thompson, a free agent. Golden State saw positive development from Brandin Podziemski and Jonathan Kuminga, and let’s not forget the Warriors finished the regular season 10-2. Finances will guide decisions, but the Warriors have a general manager in Mike Dunleavy who is committed to keeping his team in contention.

Houston Rockets

2023-24 record: 41-41

New coach Ime Udoka guided Houston to a 19-win increase from last season, putting the Rockets in the position to make another jump in his second season. Houston added solid vets last summer in Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks and Jeff Green to lead a talented group of youngsters led by Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun and rookies Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore. Udoka and the veterans instilled winning habits almost instantly. And the Rockets are bringing back their entire starting five.

Memphis Grizzlies

2023-24 record: 27-55

Injuries led to Memphis utilizing 51 different starting lineups throughout the season as the Grizzlies missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2019-20 season. But now, Memphis gets to bring aboard a lottery pick to play alongside Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Marcus Smart and Jaren Jackson Jr. Another benefit to Memphis’ rash of injuries is it forced more minutes on reserves GG Jackson, Jake LaRavia and Ziaire Williams, thus speeding up their development.

Portland Trail Blazers

2023-24 record: 21-61

Portland finished No. 2 for most games missed due to injury as the Trail Blazers utilized 40 different starting lineups in the first season without superstar Damian Lillard. Portland has four picks in the top 40 of the 2024 Draft and there’s a chance two of those selections will land in the lottery. In addition, the Trail Blazers have two potential stars in Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe.

Sacramento Kings

2023-24 record: 46-36

The Kings missed out on advancing to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons (they made the playoffs in 2023) after two losses in the Play-In Tournament. It seemed the injuries of Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk proved too much to overcome. Still, Sacramento is led by a pair of stars in De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. Keegan Murray averaged a career-high 15.2 points as a No. 3 option. The talent exists to run it back, especially if they can re-sign Monk, a free agent.

San Antonio Spurs

2023-24 record: 22-60

Victor Wembanyama. He embodies hope for the entire franchise. As a rookie, the Frenchman performed better than the organization expected, only heightening the importance of making the right moves in building around the franchise superstar. Luckily for the Spurs, Wembanyama is on board with the team’s slow, conservative approach. San Antonio possesses plenty of draft capital to make moves this offseason. But the Spurs and Wembanyama agree that building for sustained long-term success is most important.

Relive some of Victor Wembanyama's top plays and moments from the 2023-24 season.

Toronto Raptors

2023-24 record: 25-57

Out of the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, Toronto heads into the offseason looking to retool around All-Star Scottie Barnes and his cohorts Immanuel Quickley, RJ Barrett, Jakob Poeltl and Gradey Dick. The cupboard isn’t bare. And despite their 9-32 record after the Pascal Siakam trade, we saw promising signs when Barnes, Quickley and Barrett shared the court. The Raptors can make some moves to free up cap space, too.

Utah Jazz

2023-24 record: 31-51

With the ability to generate around $40 million in cap space, Utah could wind up with three picks in the top 31 of the 2024 Draft. That’s flexibility for a young Jazz squad with eight players under 23 who need more development. The veterans are solid, led by All-Star Lauri Markkanen and Collin Sexton, who finished last season averaging a career-high 4.9 assists. Utah has shown restraint and that is on the verge of paying off.

Washington Wizards

2023-24 record: 15-67

Once the Wizards settle on a coach, they can focus on the direction they need to take in what’s sure to be a lengthy rebuild process that will require patience. Despite Washington finishing last season with the fewest wins in franchise history, we still saw growth from players like Deni Avdija, rookie Bilal Coulibaly and Corey Kispert, who played 74-plus games for the third straight season and averaged a career-high 13.4 points.

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Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on X.

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