This 2015 NBA season has really been kicked off to a great start. The former champions resemble legendary teams of the past, the East is off to one of its better starts in years, and almost every team in the Association has a fresh new look to some aspect of the squad. Here are my top three surprises and disappointments so far in this young yet beautiful basketball season.
Disappointments: Western Conference? More like Mess-tern Conference, because a lot of these teams are in crisis mode.
3. Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizz are on this list for the sole reason that they came into this season with such high hopes of actually contending for a title. Now that the team is more familiar with some of their new additions from last year, Jeff Green, you would expect to see Memphis not only winning games but thriving as an organization. Instead they have lumbered out to a 6-6 record with a couple of serious blowout losses sprinkled in there as well. Luckily it seems like the squads regrouping and I do still see the Grizzlies as a playoff team. Kudos on those fresh look 70’s throwback jerseys.
2. New Orleans Pelicans: The Pelicans have the worst record in the West at 1-10, yet I still only put them second on the list. Am I missing something? No, I simply understand that this season was not going to be what the Pelicans were expecting when they came into this year. They are missing a critical player in Tyreke Evans, playing a Jrue Holiday who has not been 100 percent in a long time, and their star player feels he is the only option on both ends of the floor. Add all these up, and you will start the season with a shaky record at least, and that’s why this has not surprised me as much as it may have others. With Evans return still a while away, I can only hope that Davis can scrap together some wins for the Big Easy in what looks like may end up being a relatively rough season.
1. Houston Rockets: The Rockets are actually becoming a bit more frightening since last week. On a four game losing streak, one of which came from the Nets, I believe that its up to “The Beard” to get this group together and set them on the right path. It has been hard to see this team drop of from where they were last year, second in the West, and though they can still recover to a playoff spot, I am more worried about their leader. Harden looked rough early on before briefly getting it going, only to fall off once again. Here’s hoping he increases his focus and gets back to his superstar level of play.
Surprises: Now for the positivity.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves: The Wolves have really opened up this season with a bang. Coming off of a 16 win season in 2014-15, the wolves have gotten out on the hunt with not only wins, but quality ones at that. Though they only have five wins out of 11 games, they look much more confident and well prepared than they did at this point last year. This team is clearly playing for not only themselves, but also the late great coach Flip Saunders; with this in mind, I can honestly see them winning around 32-35 games in a tough West.
2. New York Knicks: If you’re not a diehard NY fan, you would not have expected the Knicks to have six wins at this point in the season. I have genuinely been surprised by this team, and especially by the play of some of its new additions. The hype about Porzingis is unreal, kudos on the 25 and 10+ mark, but I am especially excited about the play of Melo. Anthony looks to be embracing the role of mentor, while still getting his shots at an effective clip. I am not going to get too carried away and mark the Knicks down as a playoff team, but I will say that they may stretch into the 30 win category if they’re can keep up this level of play.
Due to their consistency and solid team play, The Denver Nuggets deserve a nod as well before I continue on to the number one spot.
1. Detroit Pistons: The pistons have definitely cooled off a bit since opening week, yet they still look strong. I believe Stan Van Gundy has transformed this team into a reimagined revamp of his former 2008-9 Orlando Magic team; a squad that made it to the finals before losing to Kobe and the Lakers. Andre Drummond is putting up astounding numbers, 19 points and 19 boards, while Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson has racked up a career high game, and has shown the league that he can be a starting guard in this game. I do believe that this Pistons team will remain strong in a surprisingly impressive Easter Conference this year, and hope that they can squeeze into the playoffs.
Latest News: Rockets GM Daryl Morey has confirmed that Kevin McHale has been fired. Pelicans star forward Anthony Davis’s injury to his left shoulder is not exactly clear, but it is doubtful he will play tonight. Spurs guard Manu Ginobili is out the next two games with bilateral hip tightness. Derrick Rose is very doubtful to play tonight vs. the Suns due to an ankle injury.