Excuses for all but the  Warriors

Updated: December 20, 2004, 9:32 AM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider

It's not easy to predict in the preseason what will go wrong with a team once the real games start. It's tough to prepare for losing an all-star center and point guard, the way the Hornets have. It's almost impossible to plan around a star player who decides to take the year off, the way Vince Carter did in Toronto. And, if you're an expansion team like the Bobcats or the Hawks (quit fooling yourself Hawks' fans) the only thing you really can plan for is misery.

Now that we are nearly a third of the way through the season, here are Insider's "educated" NBA predictions. Excuses may explain away most of the bad teams on this list ... but none of them explain what's wrong with this year's Warriors.

The bad

New Orleans Hornets: Injuries mingled with apathy have wiped out the Hornets' future this season. Even when Baron Davis and Jamaal Magloire return from injuries, you have to wonder whether the team has the heart of do anything but keep losing.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer