The NBA has tipped-off since the 17th of October, and the opening night where Gordon Hayward suffered this horrific injury. Many teams have started this season off really well, and some others have had a rough start this opening month, failing expectations. So far, the Rockets, Celtics and Warriors have the best records in the NBA, but Fadeaway World brings you the five teams that have surprised us, this opening month.
5. Orlando Magic
– Record: 8-6
– Position: 5th
The Orlando Magic have started off this season incredibly well, as in these 15 games they managed to win eight of them securing the 5th (!) spot in the Eastern Conference. In the beginning of the season, their goal was to reach the playoffs and so far, it seems as Orlando’s team will be in the top-8 come April. Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic have become a great ‘big 3’ together, scoring the basketball but also making plays and helping their teammates succeed. It has been a team effort, coached exceptionally well by head coach Frank Vogel.
It is just November, but the Magic seem to be a good enough for the playoffs.
4. New York Knicks
– Record: 7-6
– Position: 6th
Is this the year the New York Knicks make the playoffs again? It is early in the season, but the Knicks with Kristaps Porzingis as a leader have become a totally different team. With a 7-5 record, the New York Knicks have made a statement to the league, that they will not be tanking this season and that they plan to compete and challenge for a spot in the playoffs.
‘The Unicorn’ is putting up MVP type numbers and leading this team as he is averaging 30.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. He has been also a really efficient player shooting over 51% from the field and a very vocal leader in the locker rooms, despite his young age. There is promising talent in New York, Jeff Hornacek seems to know how to run this team and if the players remain healthy, the Knicks could be back on the map.
3. Houston Rockets
– Record: 11-3
– Position: 1st
Despite Chris Paul’s injury, the Houston Rockets have managed to have the second-best record in the entire NBA even though they are short-handed. James Harden has had an incredible season so far, as he is averaging 30.2 points, 10.2 (!) assists and 4.9 rebounds while shooting 45.3% from the field and being ranked fifth in PER rating with 29.77 points. By many, he is considered the early front-runner for the MVP award.
The Rockets want to challenge for a championship this season and they could not have started better as in just 14 games they have lost only three. The season is long, and it will be interesting to watch how Chris Paul’s come back to the courts will plays out with the rest of the team.
2. Detroit Pistons
– Record: 10-3
– Position: 2nd
The Detroit Pistons have been on a mission this year so far. In the 13 games, they’ve played they have only lost three of them. The Pistons have the seven best defense in the league, allowing just 101.2 points per game, but they have also been pretty decent on offense, a department where they have struggled the past years.
The Pistons want to make the playoffs this year, and with Andre Drummond playing like an All-Star and averaging 13.7 points and 15.7 rebounds while also making a remarkable 63.2% from the free-throw line, Tobias Harris’ averaging a solid 20 points night in and night out and Avery Bradley’s defense makes the Pistons a strong contender for the top-8.
1. Boston Celtics
– Record: 12-2
– Position: 1st
After starting 0-2 in the season with back to back losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Milwaukee Bucks, the Boston Celtics have won an NBA high 12 (!) straight games and have the best record in the entire league. Even though Gordon Hayward went down with a horrific leg injury on opening night, Brad Stevens’ team wants to challenge for a title this year with that young group of players and so far, they have been phenomenal.
Kyrie Irving is turning into a super-star and a leader in Boston, enjoying basketball, while the young guys like Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum are stepping up and helping out Al Horford and Kyrie.
In mid-October, most people though the Celtics short-term future, and this season would be a failure after losing Gordon Hayward and the first two games, but Boston’s team has shown character and a winning mentality, winning 12 out of the 14 first games!