We are just over ten games in to a new NBA season and already there has been a few surprises. Some good teams have started poorly (Knicks, Nets, Grizzlies), some up-and-comers have fallen flat (Cavaliers, Wizards, Pistons) but some have shown early that they could be in the play-offs this year. Here’s three teams that have upset the apple cart so far:
Portland Trail Blazers (9-2)
The Blazers have been on a 7-game winning streak recently and they have really been on fire to start the season. They are making almost 45% of three-point shots, which has led to impressive wins against San Antonio and away against Brooklyn.
Last year’s Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard has continued his fantastic form, whilst LaMarcus Aldridge has also put his feelings of moving away aside to help this team to the best record in the Northwest Conference, even above Oklahoma City.
Even an injury to first round draft pick McCollum hasn’t slowed the team down, with Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez coming up big. The problem will be depth, with only Mo Williams really contributing from the bench, the team might struggle later on in the season, which makes this fast start all the more important.
Minnesota Timberwolves (7-5)
There’s some exciting basketball being played in Minnesota right now, in part because of the return to fitness and form of both Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love. Love is on a tear, currently second in points scored per game and third in rebounds per game, he’s rightfully in MVP consideration early on.
They also are glad to see Rubio back to form, with the Spaniard currently third in assists per game and leads the league in steals. Both are a big bonus to the Timberwolves but also players like Nikola Pekovic and the addition of Kevin Marin, who could be in the running for the Most Improved award, have helped this team elevate their game to the next level.
Games in the next week against the L.A Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets will really test this team’s potential, but if they carry on in this form they could be in the play-offs at the end of the season.
Phoenix Suns (5-5)
It’s been a little while since we’ve really seen a solid Phoenix side, but this young team has upped their game this season, especially when it seemed they would still be in rebuild mode. Whilst they haven’t taken a big scalp yet, they’ve lost close games to contenders like OKC and San Antonio.
The addition of Eric Bledsoe has been inspired, stepping out of the shadow of Chris Paul and finally showing off his talent in a starting role, Bledsoe is averaging 20.4 points per game and 6.4 assists, he’s given that jump start to the Suns and a player they can build a team around.
Players like Goran Dragic and PJ Tucker (who’s third in percentage from the three) are also contributing to a positive start, even when rookie hopeful Alex Len is yet to make a big impact. Whether they’ll sneak into the play-offs in a deep Western conference is still to be seen, but at least they seem to be heading in the right direction.