The season is now roughly two weeks old and we still have some major surprises, good teams rising to the top, and a lot of teams still trying to get used to playing basketball in November.
Through four to five games for each team in the league things are falling back to earth for most whether that is good or bad. The NBA is a league where surprises are few and far between in the win and loss columns because they generally happen in the form of trades and coaches being hired (and fired).
Every Monday I will take a look at the league and set the table as I deem fit. By no means have I seen every game played, but watching 2-3 games per team has given me this perspective.
Everything is lining up just about where it should be at this point:
- San Antonio Spurs (6-1) They are built to win games during the regular season and are off to a hot start early on only slipping to the Clippers in a game they seemingly gave up on halfway through. It helps that Tim Duncan has found the Fountain of Youth early on.
- New York Knicks (4-0) The NBA's lone undefeated team so far, but they have also played the fewest games, but all against quality opponents. They are playing tremendously better on the defensive end this season without sacrificing the offense. The addition of key veterans has helped this team grow-up fast.
- Memphis Grizzlies (5-1) This is the best team nobody is talking about. They do not have a lot of big names or play in a traditional basketball market, but they do play great team defense, have the best balance in the league, and will only get better as the season gets longer. Watch out.
- Los Angeles Clippers (5-2) They are much better than I originally expected to start the season and they are winning games against Playoff caliber teams right now. With Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups out with injury the young bench is getting experience showing how deep they will be at full strength.
- Philadelphia 76ers (4-2) Jrue Holiday is playing the opposite way of a guy who just signed a major extension, he is actually earning it leading this team as they await Andrew Bynum to make his debut.
- Dallas Mavericks (4-3) They will take this start without Dirk Nowitzki, staying above .500 has to be the thought process for the next few weeks.
- Minnesota Timberwolves (4-2) With zero All-Star caliber players the T-Wolves have played solid defense, winning close games late with solid execution. Good basketball team.
- Atlanta Hawks (2-3) The eye test tells me that the Hawks will be major players in May and June proving the theory that they can be better minus Joe Johnson.
- Chicago Bulls (4-2) The defensive identity of this team has allowed them to weather the storm minus star point guard Derrick Rose.
- Denver Nuggets (4-3) An 0-3 start was rectified with a 4-0 run as of late against some middling teams that might get the Nuggets on track.
- Milwaukee Bucks (3-2) The young Bucks are starting to play well with Tobias Harris and Larry Sanders turning into nice NBA role players.
- Brooklyn Nets (3-2) If they can play the Magic nightly the Nets would be NBA Champions without doubt, the rest of the league, pretty average so far.
- Boston Celtics (3-3) Are the Celtics good? Their record is even, but they have been very inconsistent so far and it is not clear whether they are good or just average with great players.
- Golden State Warriors (3-4) Mixing in three rookies, three of which are starters, is no easy task as the Warriors are learning with the up-and-down start to the season.
- Phoenix Suns (3-4) It is hard to put a finger on the Suns just yet. Two great defensive games, two terrible defensive games, a great comeback win, and a comeback that fell short. Are they good? Bad? Or just somewhere in the middle for now? I say middle, which is why they sit at No. 17 so far on the season.
- New Orleans Hornets (3-2) How about Anthony Davis? They young star has come out of the gates as impressive as any rookie in the past ten years putting the Hornets on pace to win 52-54 wins. Too soon?
- Indiana Pacers (3-4) Minus Danny Granger the Pacers have been less than impressive trying to find an identity on offense.
- Utah Jazz (3-4) Steady. They are not going to blow anyone out, but play well nightly and will be a better team as the season progresses.
- Houston Rockets (3-3) The James Harden experiment is starting off better than expected with some very positive moments and others that have been lackluster.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (2-5) Alvin Gentry calls them the "best young back-court" in the NBA and it is hard to argue with that.
- Portland Trail Blazers (2-4) No doubt they are exciting, but they are very young and will lose a lot now to get better later.
- Sacramento Kings (2-5) It is getting dramatic in Sac Town with rookie Thomas Robinson and star center DeMarcus Cousins getting suspended for uncalled for reasons early in the season.
- Orlando Magic (2-4) Back down to earth after starting off the season 2-0.
- Charlotte Bobcats (2-3) Who had the Bobcats winning two out of five, ever, throughout an entire NBA season? They got their first win against the Mavericks ever and are playing at a higher level than pre-season expectations.
- Toronto Raptors (1-5) Without Kyle Lowry this may be the worst collection of talent in the NBA... In a very long time.
- Washington Wizards (0-5) With all the injuries and new faces they Wizards were bound to start slow, but with all the lottery picks they have had over the years how are they this bad?
- Detroit Pistons (0-7) Are they the worst team in the NBA? I don't think so, but they have started off worse than anyone to date and are losing games by 11+ PPG through seven so far.