The NBA season is in full swing and I’m living.
There have been a few surprises so far in the season, and I’m here to talk about five of ’em, so let’s get to it.
1. The Kings Are Kinda Good
There are certain teams in the NBA that I just kind of expect to lose every game, you know? The Kings are one of them. Well, they were one of them.
They’re starting the season off with a 6-4 record, which is 6 wins more than I thought they’d have. They added Marvin Bagley III, the second overall pick in the 2018 draft, who has been playing wonderfully. More surprising than that, however, is the fact that their starters are playing quite well. De’Aaron Fox is playing at a much higher level than he was last season, and looking like a true leader. He’s shooting nearly 50% from the field and has impressed basketball fans with his passing and ability to make plays. Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein have made significant improvements as well.
Of course, it’s early yet, but this has been a pleasant surprise.
2. Nikola Mirotic (New Orleans)
The Pelicans have tried a lot of combinations to get the most out of their players, especially next to Anthony Davis. Who knew that Mirotic would be such a winner and create frontcourt magic? With his #newlook, he’s also taking on a larger and more impressive role.
He’s shooting over 50% from the field and over 35% from the 3-point line. As his confidence grows, I think we can expect to see a lot more from Threekola as the season goes on.
3. Caris LeVert (Brooklyn)
Ah, the Brooklyn Nets, another team I just kind of expect to lose every game. I have a soft spot for the Nets. I only got into basketball about 5 years ago, when I was living in Brooklyn. I lived about two miles away from the Barclays Center and would buy cheap tickets every couple months. They were “my” team and I always want them to do well.
Caris LeVert has been the most exciting player on the team this season. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know too much about LeVert before this season when I kept seeing him over and over in highlights. He’s averaging 20 points a game so far, when last year he was averaging only 12.1 (he’s only playing 5 minutes more per game this season, by the way). He’s playing with much more confidence and thought this season, which has been fun to watch.
4. Blake Griffin’s Playing the Way Blake Griffin Should
Griffin was the number one overall pick back in 2009 and was awarded the Rookie of the Year award unanimously. He put the Clippers on the map when they were nowhere close.
Not that Blake hasn’t always been a great player, but I feel like he hadn’t really lived up to expectations. He has struggled with many different injuries in his career, and trading for him was certainly a gamble by the Pistons. The gamble seems to paying off this season.
He played a phenomenal game on October 23, against the Sixers, where he scored a career-high 50 points (not to mention 14 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 block). Blake used to be known for his flashy dunks, and while he’s still got ’em, he’s so much more now. He’s expanded his game immensely, most notably with his three-point shot. He’s currently shooting 45.7% from beyond the arc, and it’s not like he rarely take them. In his 50-point game against the Sixers he took 10 shots from the arc, 5
5. The Bucks are Really Good.
I mean, really, really good.
Coach Budenholzer has completely changed the team’s game, and boy, is it working. The team is taking about 45% of their shots from three-point range. That’s a lot
In addition to increasing their shot attempts from deep, they’ve decreased
The Bucks’ defense has been wonderful as well. Budenholzer worked with Popovich for years, so it’s no surprise the Bucks’ defense has improved. They’re effectively defending 3-point shooters, a necessity these days, as well as defending the rim. This forces their opponents to settle for less than ideal, off-balance mid-range shots – the same shots the Bucks aren’t
All of this, plus the fact that Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing like the absolute freak he is (MVP, anyone?) make the Bucks the team to watch in the east. Ay, fear the deer.
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