5 NBA Teams That Are Exceeding Expectations

Stan Van GundyEntering this NBA season there were a handful of topics that we as fans could most likely predict such as the Golden State Warriors continued dominance, LeBron’s everlasting excellence, and the not so stellar play from teams such as the Chicago Bulls. In this article I will acknowledge 5 NBA teams that are overachieving our expectations so far this season. Keep in mind we are close to a quarter of the way through the season and as we’ve seen with teams such as the Los Angeles Clippers injuries occur, so it is way more than likely for at least one of these teams hot starts to begin to cool off in the near future.

5. New York Knicks, 10-10

Before the season began the Knicks were looking like a bottom dweller of the East with little to no expectations of making playoffs. This past offseason they gave up debatable their best player Carmelo Anthony via trade to The Oklahoma City Thunder. They also seemed to have only one unmovable asset in Kristaps Porzingis, surrounded by a cast of unproven talent in players such as Frank Ntilikina and Willy Hernangomez. The New York Knicks are now currently tied for 9th in the East and only .5 games back of playoffs. You can credit this to the grit and tenacity that New York plays with rallying behind their new born star Kristaps Porzingas. Kristaps took his game to the next level this offseason averaging 27.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg and 2.2 bpg, he is currently amongst the best in the East.

4. Indiana Pacers, 12-9

The Indiana Pacers were another team who lost their star via trade this offseason. The Pacers traded Paul George to The Oklahoma City Thunder in return for two key players in Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Oladipo is another young Eastern Conference star who has taken their game to the next level, partially because he is now considered a centerpiece of the team alongside Myles Turner. Oladipo is now also taking almost 4 more shots per game this year than what he was with Oklahoma city behind Russell Westbrook. Domantas has also improved, and is leading the Pacers in rebounds at 8.8.

3. Portland Trail Blazers, 13-8

The Portland Trail Blazers are currently the 4th best team in a star studded Western Conference. Heading into this year I imagined for the Trail Blazers to finish as one of the last spots in the playoffs behind teams like the Thunder, Timberwolves and injury plagued Clippers who they are all currently ahead of. As long as the Trail Blazers have Lillard and McCollum leading the charge they will be a tough matchup for any backcourt night in and night out. I expect for this team to keep up this level of play especially with players like Jusuf Nurkic and Al-Farouq Aminu who is currently sidelined with an ankle injury chipping in on a nightly basis.

2. Detroit Pistons, 13-6

In my eyes the Detroit Pistons have been the biggest surprise so far this season. They are playing outstanding basketball behind Andre Drummond who is the league leader in rebounds averaging 15.6. Coach Stan Van Gundy has this team clicking on all cylinders getting from contributions from everyone who steps on the court. The Pistons have 11 different players, playing in at least half of there games that are averaging more than 10 minutes per game. This is a deep team that is lead in scoring by Tobias Harris, (19.1 ppg) who has greatly benefited by moving to the Power Forward position

1. Boston Celtics, 18-4

The Boston celtics are currently atop of the association. They possibly made the biggest move of the offseason by swapping Isaiah Thomas for Kyrie Irving with their Eastern Conference rival Cleveland Cavaliers. They also acquired Gordon Hayward this offseason via free agency. Hayward will be out for a couple months due to one of the more gruesome injuries we have he seen in sport that he sustained on opening night. Even with the injury to one of their key players the Celtics are a threat to win it all. Not many thought this young team would be able to overcome such an adversity in such the timely manner that they did. Brad Stevens is an outstanding young coach who is already labeled as one of the best in the league. He has this team young Celtic team lead by superstar Kyrie Irving playing great. Expect for this team not only to keep up their level of play for the rest of the year, but for many years to come.


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Image via Martinez News-Gazette


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