The National Basketball Association just returned to full swing this past week and there have already been tons of great storylines. Even though we are only a few games into this young season, some teams are showing some early signs of promise and disappointment.
A team that has really surprised a lot of people with their play so far is the New York Knicks. With not being able to acquire any big name free agents over the offseason and starting the season with three straight games against playoff teams from last year, I was sure that their start would be similar to last season. Right now, though, they are looking good at 2-1 with those two wins coming on the road by an average of 16 points a game.
The next team that is off to a surprisingly good start is the Detroit Pistons. Since they have missed the playoffs each of the last six seasons, nobody really had expected anything but the same out of Detroit this year. But so far, they are undefeated after three games including wins in Atlanta against the Hawks and in overtime against the Chicago Bulls. The key to their success so far is center Andre Drummond, who has been averaging nearly 19 points and over 16 rebounds per game. With this hot start and Brandon Jennings expected to return to the lineup soon, expect the Pistons to keep the momentum going.
The last team to have an unexpected good start is the Minnesota Timberwolves. Karl Anthony Towns is doing well to start his NBA career, but that is not the reason why I believe they are off to a 2-0 start. Long time Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders just passed away over a week ago and since he was such a beloved coach in Minnesota, the players certainly have him on their minds while they are playing. Knowing that this season is dedicated to Saunders, keep an eye out for the Timberwolves.
There are also some teams that are off to unexpectedly bad starts. First off is the team that might be off to the worst start of any other team in the league: the Houston Rockets. The cornerstone of that team is James Harden and the fact that the MVP candidate from last season is only shooting 22 percent in the first three games is alarming. The Rockets also had a 21 point second half lead on the Miami Heat the other night and ended up losing by 20. If this keeps up, the Rockets will look just as embarrassing as they have so far, but I don’t expect it to. Harden is way too good to be shooting at 22 percent from the field and nine percent from three-point range.
The other team that is off to a subpar start compared to how they should be playing is the New Orleans Pelicans. Right now they are 0-3, and even though Anthony Davis hasn’t seemed to have lost a step from last season, they are just being disposed of by teams so far. They are giving up 119 points per game, which is historically bad and forewarning of many lost games in the future if they keep giving up that many points. But I seriously doubt that this will continue, so look for the Pelicans to rebound from their first three losses.