No one season is ever the same in the NBA. This season thus far has proved this statement to be all but true, with some teams that were expected to struggle defying the odds and playing with tenacity, while others widely tipped for success have stuttered. Some starts have been more impressive and surprising than others. Whether they can continue to defy the odds and avoid the cesspit of defeat is anybody’s question, it’s all up for grabs this early on in the season.
Surprisingly Hot NBA Teams to Start the Season
Brooklyn Nets (4-9)
With arguably the worst roster in the NBA, it’s fair to say the Nets have done remarkably well to not be sitting at the foot of the Eastern Conference. Despite the negative energy and whisperings going around Brooklyn, the Nets have defied the odds to remain competitive and keep their dignity against all but three opponents (losses against the Bulls, the Clippers, and the Trail Blazers).
They’ve put together a team of hustlers, an energetic bunch that are far from the old and boring side that amassed a measly 21 wins last season. They were never going to sacrifice the future for the present and attempt to make some lavish, flashy off-season acquisitions. However, the players they did manage to lure to Brooklyn have won a numerous amount of fans hearts with some worthy displays, though.
Trevor Booker has acclimatized to life in Brooklyn quickly, and is enjoying fruitful success as the main focal point of this team. Sean Kilpatrick has undoubtedly proved he’s an essential member of this team, acting as one of the league’s better shooters coming off the bench. Brook Lopez has added three-point shooting to his game to add a degree of dimension and potency to the Nets’ offense. Prior to this season, Lopez had made just THREE 3-pointers in 483 career games. He hit four against the Pistons.
Chicago Bulls (9-5)
Following a dismal ’15-16 season which saw the Chicago Bulls miss out on the playoffs for the first time in nearly eight years. With Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol all leaving in the off-season, the future looked bleak for the Bulls.
However, they now sit 4th in the Eastern Conference. This is a feat many wouldn’t have begun to comprehend back in the summer.
Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler have ultimately stepped up when needed with the pair averaging a combined 43.2 points per game (18.1 and 25.1 PPG respectively). Cometh the moment, cometh the man (or men in this case). Rajon Rondo was also acquired in free agency and has provided some solid, all-around stats, creating a partnership with Wade that has yielded success.
Although, the best is yet to come for the Bulls. They’re still a relatively new team, especially the backcourt, that need time to gel in order to reach their optimum performances. Watch this space.
Charlotte Hornets (8-4)
The Hornets have toppled a host of competitive teams thus far, and came excruciatingly close to besting both last years Eastern Conference finalists, the Cavaliers and the Raptors. All of the aforementioned has culminated in the Hornets occupying 3rd place in their Conference, and deservedly so.
With a vast array of talented and competitive teams occupying the East, including the Pacers, Cavs, Celtics, Hawks and the Raptors to name a few, it’s incredible to see the Hornets competing with the top seeds. This goes without mentioning the emergence of the Knicks, the Bulls and the Bucks into playoff contenders, too! The Hornets personify a perfect example of how team chemistry is pivotal to any teams success, not just individual brilliance.
Los Angeles Lakers (7-7)
Losing Kobe, finishing at the foot of the Western Conference with a laughable 17 wins, two of the worst seasons in franchise history – the Los Angeles Lakers’ rebuilding phase has been torrid to say the least. But is there finally light at the end of this treacherous tunnel? Recent results and form would certainly suggest so.
With the deadwood shifted, the youngsters finally have a platform on which to shine, without being cast in the shadow of Kobe’s legacy. And this young, exciting side has duly performed, rising emphatically into playoff contention.
D’Angelo Russell has shown admirable maturity in taking firm hold of the reigns, announcing to the world of basketball that he’s in charge now. Head coach Luke Walton has reintroduced Nick Young to the starting line-up after being isolated from the starters for much of last season, and this has proved fruitfully successful with Young averaging 14 PPG, shooting an impressive 45.5% from the field. Lou Williams and Larry Nance Jr offer a great deal of depth for the Lakers, and have also provided some great minutes off the bench, too.
This young side is hungry for success and desperate to drag the Lakers’ basketball image from the gutter. In Walton, the Lakers have a head coach with a lot of useful experience and ideas ready to deploy from his time with the Golden State Warriors. One thing is certain amongst all the playoff rumors surrounding the Lakers; there is a lot more to come from this side.
NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 29: Brook Lopez #11 of Brooklyn Nets during a basketball game between Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings at the Barclays Center on December 29, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)