Does the slipper still fit for Cinderella?

Originally Published: October 29, 2004
By Chad Ford | NBA Insider
The clock already has struck midnight – do you know what your favorite NBA Cinderella is up to these days?

Last year, a number of teams defied early doomsday forecasts and had excellent seasons.

The Nuggets went from the worst team in the league to the playoffs on the back of a rookie, Carmelo Anthony and a key free-agent signee, Andre Miller.

The other great rookie of 2003, LeBron James, almost single-handedly lifted the Cavs from the cellar into a playoff race.

The Grizzlies came out of nowhere, using the deepest bench in the league and its brightest bench captain to outhustle and outwork the competition.

In that vein, the Jazz and Bucks – without much in the way of top-tier talent – proved that great coaching and teamwork trumps huge payrolls and star power.

But here's the funny thing about Cinderellas. Once the clock strikes midnight, the carriage turns into a pumpkin, the $1,000 designer dress turns into rags and the glass slipper no longer fits your fat foot.

Can last year's darlings deliver this season, now that expectations are through the roof?'s Marc Stein thinks the Denver Nuggets have the talent to live up to their increased expectations. Here's Insider's look at four Cinderella teams that must now prove the slipper still fits.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer