I was just considering how similar the Reds have been to the Bengals in recent years (up and coming success, young, emerging talent, disappointing playoff appearances, etc.) and felt compelled to write up another completely random fanpost to ponder what current NBA team most resembles the Bengals.
Golden State Warriors - Recently emerging from perennial bottom dweller status, the Warriors have suddenly become one of the hottest NBA teams with young talented players, a reliable veteran center, and the pickup of a stud free agent. The fourth year, 25 year old Stephen Curry who has established himself as one of the premier PGs in the league leads a young team (three of last year's starters were under the age of 24) coming off it's second playoff appearance since 1994 (12 consecutive non-playoff seasons between '95-'06) in which they lost during the first round. They have a very solid and underrated center in Andrew Bogut, who has perhaps been the media victim of playing for bad teams his entire career. Adding to their demise over the years has been competing in the same Pacific Division as the storied Lakers, who have recently plummeted with aging and injury-plagued veterans. Additionally, the Warriors have just picked up seasoned veteran Andre Iguodala, an athletically-gifted defensive specialist (granted Iguodala is much younger and has more potential than James Harrison, but the asset provided in each player is somewhat similar). Looking ahead, the Warriors will likely be a top contender in the Western conference for the next several years depending on how effective the less-than-explosive Curry can be.
Indiana Pacers - Back in 2004, the Pacers were an expected title contender loaded with young stars to include Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, & Jermaine O'Neal along with aging veteran Reggie Miller. What looked like a promising young team on the rise suddenly collapsed after the infamous "Malice at the Palace" on November 19, 2004 which led to it's dismantling and 5-year plunge into mediocrity. Recently however, with the successful drafting of young talented players (Granger, George, Hibbert, & Stephenson), trade for Hill (in exchange for Kawhi Leonard - another great pick by Larry Bird), and FA pickup of David West, the Pacers are once again now a title-contending team. They even relied heavily this past year upon Lance Stephenson, a high-risk player with a history of misbehavior who has rewarded them with solid play. Last year, they were able to resign their highly-coveted big man, Hibbert (a young, physically-dominating center who has yet to reach his potential) and have most of their stars locked up for the next 3-4 years. A very well-balanced team with no clear-cut star, but very dangerous and looking to exceed their recent playoff disappointments.
Minnesota Timberwolves - Perhaps one of the most dismal teams in all of professional sports, the Timberwolves are another underachieving, young team with budding talent. Kevin Love, who was injured this past year, is arguably the top PF in the NBA and unfortunately has begun his career in the midst of a 10-year playoff drought by the Timberwolves. Ricky Rubio, a surprisingly successful floor general, despite his lack of size or agility, has shown potential to be an elite PG. Minnesota shows some promise, though is lacking at least one or two stud players to round out this average cast. On the horizon, they face the inevitable high-stakes competition of retaining Kevin Love who may likely be moving on to greener pastures.
*Charlotte Bobcats - This would be more of a 90's Bengals team comparison, because Michael Jordan might actually be a worse owner than Mike Brown was. Both have asserted themselves as defacto GMs and been highly successful at running their franchises into the ground. Only by convincing Jordan to release his tight-grip on decision-making will the Bobcats ever hope to succeed. Between his lackluster Wizards playing career, dismal performance ad President of Wizards Basketball Operations, incredibly arrogant and vindictive HOF speech, and his ownership of the Bobcats, MJ has really done well to maintain his legacy.