Some players and teams sprint out of the gates, looking far more dangerous than expected. Others, for a wide variety of reasons, struggle to live up to the expectations, whether lofty or more middle-of-the-pack. But which surprises and disappointments are legitimate? Which are flukes, driven by the small sample sizes inherent to the early portion of the basketball calendar?
Brooklyn Nets' Offensive Breakouts
Largely because they've struggled to stop everything from nosebleeds to potent opposing scorers, the Brooklyn Nets haven't converted their offensive breakouts into a winning record. But they have experienced their fair share of surges to prominence on the scoring end, as Cam Thomas and Lonnie Walker IV have buttressed an offense that was supposed to be led by Mikal Bridges.
Chet Holmgren Unicorning His Way into ROY Contention
What can't Chet Holmgren do on the basketball court? Even if his gait sometimes looks a bit awkward, as if he's stumbling into the right plays, he always seems to make those right plays and has rarely looked like a rookie. Perhaps that's because he's one in name only after redshirting the 2022-23 campaign with an injury.
Houston Rockets Have Lifted off Prematurely
Heading into the season, only the Washington Wizards (+50000), Charlotte Hornets (+50000) and Detroit Pistons (+50000) had longer odds to win the title than the Houston Rockets (+25000). But while those first three bottom-feeders have gone a combined 7-19, the Rockets, featuring an intriguing mix of high-upside youngsters and veterans expected to serve as stabilizing forces, have posted a nice record.
Turbocharged Indiana Pacers Offense
In the early stages of the 2023-24 campaign, no offense has been more potent than the Indiana Pacers, scoring a staggering 121.5 points per 100 possessions behind net-scorching shooting performances and an utter refusal to turn the ball over.
What Drama for the Philadelphia 76ers?
The pressure on the Philadelphia 76ers ratcheted up as the 2023-24 season approached, given both the James Harden-related drama engulfing the organization and the need to experience more postseason success after the influx of letdowns. Reminder: The Sixers haven't even made the Eastern Conference Finals since Allen Iverson and Theo Ratliff were their two leading scorers. So far, the Sixers haven't just accepted the pressure; they've thrived under its could-be-crushing weight.
Link to Original Article (https://bleacherreport.com/articles/10097036-the-nbas-best-surprises-and-biggest-disappointments-so-far)