The 4 Biggest Surprises Of The NBA Season So Far

The NBA season is just over a couple of weeks old but there’s already been some bizarre happenings. The San Antonio Spurs had a slow start, the Memphis Grizzlies are atop the West and the Cleveland Cavaliers are barely floating above .500. Exactly as you predicted, right?

It’s early, but let’s look at some of the biggest surprises we’ve seen so far:

1. Milwaukee Bucks

This is the biggest surprise in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks were an absolutely horrible team last season, finishing with the second-worst record in the NBA and being a laughingstock for virtually the whole 82-game schedule. Through nine games this season, though, the Bucks are 4-5 and show signs of being able to compete for one of the last playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks are being carried by a willingness to do the dirty work. This team’s offense isn’t much (averaging 91.9 points per game, which is 28th in the NBA) but, the Bucks are top-13 in assists, top-eight in rebounding, and third in defense, allowing only 93.6 points per game.

2. Los Angeles Clippers

What in the world has happened to the Clippers? They’re 15th in offense (100.7 points per game), 21st in defense (101.7) and dead-last in rebounding. Yes, the team with Blake Griffin and last year’s rebound champion, DeAndre Jordan, averages the fewest rebounds per game.

The bigger concern is just the nightly effort. They’ve beaten teams like Utah, the Lakers and the Oklahoma City, but they’ve lost at home twice already (once to the San Antonio Spurs and once to Sacramento Kings). 

We don’t need to pull the fire alarm just yet but this team was supposed to be a championship contender and they’ve looked nothing like it so far.

3. New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans are 5-3 through their first eight games, which is something that – if sustained – will give them a win total in the mid-40s. That’s borderline shocking considering how much of a disaster they were last season.

Anthony Davis has grown into a superstar, averaging 25 points and 13 rebounds with nearly four and a half blocked shots per game. Davis’ influence on games is becoming so pervasive that his teammates have a much more manageable task each game. Last season, this team looked like the wrong concoction of talent but this year, there’s chemistry and they’re clicking right now. The season is young but their 139-91 drubbing of Minnesota in their latest game shows how far this team has come.

4. Sacramento Kings 

The Kings have had their guts ripped out of them the past few nights. The team has gained leads of at least 22 points in road games over the past week against Dallas and Memphis. Twice, the Kings blew those leads and ultimately lost. However, when was the last time the Kings were good enough to even get a 22-point lead over the Mavericks and Grizzlies on the road? This is definitely one of the pleasant surprises of the young season – even though there’s no guarantee that the Kings will make the playoffs. 

DeMarcus Cousins is focused right now at both ends of the court, playing stellar defense while still averaging 22 points per game along with 11 rebounds. And Rudy Gay is out of his mind right now (likely because it’s a contract year), averaging 23 points per game while making much better choices with the ball.