It has been over two weeks since the 2020-21 NBA season started. So far, nothing is going as expected for a lot of teams. Some teams have remained near or around the same level as last year, meanwhile others have improved or flat out fallen apart. Today I will be going over teams who have surprised us thus far.
The Woeful Raptors
Nick Nurse’s squad has a lot of work to do if they don’t want their season to get out of hand. They are off to a 2-6 start and look lost. The departure of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka left a hole in their interior defense and has left them shorthanded. They have stayed competitive throughout games but can’t maintain that momentum in the second half. They need to add height to their lineup in terms of a better center but that is easier said than done. VanVleet, Lowry, and Siakam are playing ok but they need to play a lot better if they want their team to succeed.
New Look Knicks?
The Knicks are finally playing good basketball. Newly acquired coach Tom Thibodeau has really embraced the team and instilled a lot of confidence and wit in them. Julius Randle has balled out averaging over 22 points with 12 rebounds. Austin Rivers was a nice signing as he makes the most of the extra minutes in New York. RJ Barrett is finally playing like a top 5 pick and it is looking good so far for the Knicks.
Magic Brewing in Orlando?
The Magic have gotten off to a fast 6-3 start so far. The loss of Markelle Fultz really hurt them as he was starting to get into a groove. Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross have both been playing well in terms of scoring as they both average over 21 and 19 points. The whole team has been playing as a unit and it is resulting in winning basketball.
The Wizards Are Bad
Washington were invited to the bubble last season as they were close to an 8 seed. Things got out of hand and they ended up leaving the bubble empty-handed and in need of answers. They traded beloved but injury-plagued John Wall for former MVP Russell Westbrook and got a steal in the draft. So far, nothing is working. They are 2-7 so far and have been atrocious on defense, to put it nicely. Bradley Beal is balling and averaging 35 points on 48% shooting but he deserves a lot better than this. Westbrook is averaging a near triple double on bad shooting but his squad plays better without him on the court. It is a mess for Washington.
Suns Are Shining
Phoenix was one of those teams a lot of people were expecting to make a jump this year. They acquired Chris Paul and looked to continue their bubble form. So far, they are 6-3 because of the play from their big 3 of Ayton, Booker, and Paul. Dario Saric has also stepped into a nice role and is averaging over 11 points so far. Monty Williams is creating something special in Phoenix and it may be the year for Phoenix to return to the playoffs.
Is Houston Clawing Their Way Back?
After a slow start for the Rockets, it looks as if their offense is finally clicking. John Wall and Boogie Cousins have rekindled their Kentucky bond and James Harden is playing well. They have a lot of eyes on them because of Harden trade rumors and the lack of chemistry they seem to have on the court. If Harden can limit the distractions and not break protocol, Houston has a real shot to be a top contender. If he continues to lack discipline and stir the media, Houston is in for a long season.