After ten games in the NBA, fans have a better idea of which players and teams are in for a great season. Although the season has only just begun, there have been many surprises from lower-tier teams in the league as well as from certain players beginning to impress up until now. Here are the biggest surprises thus far in the NBA.
Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis has begun the season in full force as the star in Indiana. Averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds on 56% FG, Sabonis has looked like a completely new player since the beginning of the season. He’s been dominant in the paint and has improved his jumper significantly.
Despite the likes of Malcolm Brogdon and Victor Oladipo, Sabonis has been the driving force of this Pacers side currently 4th in the East. Although the Pacers aren’t finals contenders, they’re building a strong core held by the 24-year-old Lithuanian.
Julius Randle and the New York Knicks
Although they’re currently on an increasing losing streak, the Knicks looked like a very impressive team so far this season. Many counted the Knicks off from far before the season even began, however, they’re turning heads. Julius Randle has put up all-star numbers for New York and seems like a completely different player than the previous season.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau has turned the Knicks into a gritty team that looks to win all games. Now on a three-game losing streak, fans are worried the impressive run of form from their team was simply a fluke that has already died. The Knickerbockers are now 5-6 and head to Brooklyn to play Steve Nash‘s Nets on Wednesday.
The Brooklyn Nets
With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both healthy and ready to play this year, the Nets were considered a finals contender. However, Brooklyn has been far from it in what has been a mediocre season thus far. Kyrie Irving has taken part in his fair share of drama as of late; the star point guard refusing to play games for unknown reasons.
Additionally, Steve Nash hasn’t held up to expectations, in part due to questionable rotations, as well as a simple inability to strengthen his side’s defense. Many including Deandre Jordan and Taurean Prince have underperformed and will need to significantly improve to ensure the Nets get back on track. However, it’s still early in the season and not many expected Brooklyn to be at 100% from day one.
When Michael Jordan signed Gordon Hayward to a four year 130 million dollar deal, many were skeptical of if he was really worth such a large contract. However, any doubts fans had before were surely erased after his tremendous start to the season. Hayward looks like the player he was turning into before receiving a devastating injury.
Although he wasn’t at his best during every game, he’s put up great performances. Most recently, a 34 point game against the Knicks brought his team to sixth in the East. Not many expected him to do so well, however, Gordon Hayward is clearly the established leader in Charlotte.
The NBA was stunned when the Wizards and Rockets announced the blockbuster Russell Westbrook John Wall trade. Bradley Beal looked like he would finally receive some much-needed support in Washington this season. However, things have not panned out thus far.
Despite Beal averaging just under 35 points per game along with five assists, the Wizards haven’t been able to create wins. Just 2-8 in standings, the Wizards may be regretting opting for Westbrook over the recently healed John Wall. The Wizards point guard hasn’t been able to find his rhythm offensively and needs to see improvement.