Three NBA teams that could regress in the 2021-22 season: Blazers to blow it all up?

Damian Lillard Trail Blazers
Photo of Ricky Dimon

Ricky Dimon


Show Bio

Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

Congratulations to the Milwaukee Bucks, who won the 2020-21 NBA title on Tuesday. An entertaining post-season came to an end with the Bucks’ Game 6 victory over the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals. A classic close-out performance by Giannis Antetokounmpo clinched it for Milwaukee, which battled back from a 2-0 deficit to knock off Phoenix. Head coach Mike Budenholzer’s squad also overcame adversity in the second round (they trailed the Brooklyn Nets 2-0 and survived Game 7 on the road in overtime) and in the Eastern Conference Finals (Antetokounmpo missed two games against the Atlanta Hawks due to a hyperextended knee).

But enough about the season that just ended; the past is already the past. It’s never too early to start looking ahead to the next one. What could be in store for the 2021-22 campaign? Can the Bucks go back-to-back? Will Chris Paul return to the Suns and give it another go?

For now, let’s take a look at three teams who could take a step a back next season.

New York Knicks

The upstart New York Knicks surprised everyone this past season by going 41-31. That was good for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. Of course, there were only three really good teams in the East. A fourth emerged in the playoffs… and it wasn’t the Knicks. The Atlanta Hawks made routine work of New York in the first round, which confirmed what most people suspected: the Knicks weren’t necessarily a fluke, but they just weren’t that great. Including Julius Randle, it’s hard to see anyone on the roster making much of an improvement. New York has probably peaked.

At +10000, the Knicks have huge title odds by the standards of a team that just earned the No. 4 seed and home-court advantage in the first round of its conference playoffs. But the books want bettors to take that bait. Well, don’t. New York has no realistic chance to win the NBA championship or even get out of the East. Heck, this squad may not even make it back to the playoffs.

Portland Trail Blazers

There really isn’t a pathway to improvement for Chauncey Billups in his first season as head coach of the Trail Blazers. This organization basically has two options. One is to run it back with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, basically settling for the fate of being a middle-of-the-pack Western Conference club (the Blazers went 42-30 this season, giving them the No. 6 seed in the West—which led to a first-round exit at the Denver Nuggets’ hands). The other is to blow it all up and trade Lillard, which is probably but unofficially what he wants. McCollum could depart in that scenario, too. Neither option is particularly good in the short term, so 2021-22 hopes cannot be high in Portland regardless of what happens.

Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia is another team that is dealing with more questions than answers. Will Ben Simmons be back, or has that ship sailed following his disastrous second-round series against the Hawks? The 76ers have plenty of talent even without Simmons, but they may not remain a title contender if they don’t get a lot in return. Given Simmons’ sudden lack of trade value, the Sixers won’t get much of a haul in exchange for the former No. 1 overall pick. In 2020-21, Philly compiled the best record in the Eastern Conference and the third-best record overall. It’s hard to see that transpiring again next season.

Read our 2020 Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball preview here

Pickswise is the home of free expert NBA Picks and Predictions, and we offer so much more. Be sure to also check out our daily NBA Prop Bets and NBA Parlays throughout the 2021-22 season.

Virginia Bonuses

See All


Get a $100 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $100 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $100

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

FanDuel Sportsbook


Get a $1,000 No Sweat First Bet

Sign up for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account and make your first deposit of $10+

Place your first bet up to $1,000!

Get refunded if you lose up to $1,000

Must be 21+. First online real money wager only. $10 first deposit required. Bonus issued as non-withdrawable free bets that expire 14 days after receipt. See full terms at



Get a $500 Risk-Free Bet

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make your first deposit & get up to $500 in free bets

To get $500 in free bets, wager $500

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF



Bet $10, Win $200 if Any NBA Team Hits a Three Pointer!

Sign up for a new betting account with BetMGM

Place a pre-game moneyline wager of at least $10 on a NBA game

Win $200 in free bets if any team hits a three pointer

21+. Terms & conditions apply.



Bet $5 & Win $150 If Your First Moneyline Bet Wins!

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5+ on the pre-game Moneyline in any sport

Win $200 if your team wins

Offer valid for new players only. Must be 21 years or older to play. Reward paid in site credit. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.



Get 4x $200 In Free Bets

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Bet up to $200 and If you lose, you get a refund

You will receive Free Bet(s) in the amount of the losing wager(s), up to $200 each for four days.

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Caesars Sportsbook


Get a $1,250 risk-free bet

Sign up for a new Caesars Sportsbook account

Place your first bet of $10 or more

If your first bet loses, you’ll receive a refund up to $1,250 from Caesars in free bets

21+. Terms and conditions apply.



Bet $10, Get $200 if Any NHL Team Scores A Goal

Sign up for a new betting account with BetMGM

Place a pre-game moneyline wager of at least $10 on a NHL game

Win $200 in free bets if any teams scores a goal

21+. Terms & conditions apply.



Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.



Get 5x $100 in Free Bets

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Make a bet of up to $100 and receive a refund if you lose

Get this offer once a day for the first 5 days you sign up

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.



Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.



Get $2,000 in Free Bets

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit

Receive a free bet refund up to $500 if your first fixed odds bet loses

& a free bet refund up to $1,500 if your first two PointsBetting Wager loses

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Monkey Knife Fight


Claim Instant Deposit Match up to $100 + Free $5 game

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.



Get Your First Single-Horse Win Wager Back Up to $200 if you don't win

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $200

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.



Get a $200 Sign-Up Bonus with Twinspires Racebook!

Open your account using offer code BET200

$200 bonus cash will be credited in increments of $100 for every $400 wagered

To earn the full $200 bonus players must wager $800 within 30 days

21+. Terms and conditions apply.

Underdog Fantasy


First deposit is 100% matched up to $100 with Underdog Fantasy

Sign up for a new account with Underdog Fantasy

Make your first deposit

Every dollar (up to $100) will be matched! Deposit $25, get $50; deposit $100, get $200, etc

Must be 21+ to play. Terms & conditions apply