It's Week 3 in the NBA season, and just about every team has played ten games.
Which means we're already 12% through the regular season. So we are able to collect data and have a general idea of where most teams stand heading forward.
Let's dive into some Surprises, Disappointments, and Things to keep an eye on.
Every player in the NBA are professionals, so it should never really be surprising when a guy is playing great. Yet, we still get that feeling of shock when players we slept on play better than we expected.
- Brandon Ingram
Brandon Ingram was a top pick for the Lakers just a few years ago. But his inconsistent play in his first couple years left people wondering what he could become. But let's not forget, this guy had a life-threatening blood clot issue that was cause for concern.
It was similar to the issue that ultimately ended Chris Bosh's career. But Ingram's youth allowed him for a full recovery, and he's coming out this season like he has something to prove.
We can look at his stats and see that he's got career highs across the board with 26 PPG, 4 APG, and 7.3 RPG. But we can also look at his Advanced stats and see that he's having an even bigger effect on his team. He's accounting for 20% of the Pelicans Defensive Rebounds as well as teams Assists.
- Phoenix Suns
Every year, a bad team wins a few games early to trick us into thinking they're actually good. But this Phoenix Suns team looks different when you watch them play.
The additions of Dario Saric, Ricky Rubio, and Aaron Baynes have given them a veteran presence that is probably holding this young squad accountable. Their new head coach Monty Williams has them playing fast and moving the ball more than they ever had in the Devin Booker era.
They are still leading the league in Assists per game with 28.1 and field goal percentage with 48.1%. This is no flash in the pan. Any team that can play at a Pace of Play that is good enough for top ten in the league, share the ball, and buy into the coaches philosophy will have an opportunity to be successful.
- New York Knicks
Every year, the Knicks are a dumpster fire and a magnet for disfunction. But this season, they've already topped themselves!
We're only ten games into the season and the ownership is already starting to point fingers at coaching and the players. Congratulations Knicks! You're ahead of schedule!
- Portland Trail Blazers
The injury bug has hit a team that is already battling injuries as it is. We still don't know when Jusuf Nurkic is coming back, and Zach Collins was supposed to fill in for him. But the unfortunate news of him needed shoulder surgery is going to keep him out for at least four months.
CJ McCollum has gotten out to a very slow start. His worst performances came against the short-handed Golden State Warriors and the Brooklyn Nets. He went a combined 10/35 from the field and totaled 22 points. He finally hit a big shot in their overtime win against the Hawks, and immediately after the shot he looked to the sky and threw his hands up and shouted "Finally!"
They're sitting at 4-6 right now, so hopefully they'll be up to at least 11 wins by the 20 game mark.
- Zion Williamson's injury
We have gotten good play from a couple of rookies we expected to be good, and some other guys who have been pleasant surprises. But it still feels like something is missing without Zion on the floor.
His explosiveness and highlight ability has been missed in this young season. Here's to hoping he heals sooner than later.
Things to Keep an Eye On
- Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics have raced out to league best 8-1 record, despite lacking size and losing Gordon Hayward for 2 months. Brad Stevens is proving why he will continue to be one of the best coaches in the NBA. Not only keeping this team afloat, but making this roster look like a potential contender.
But are they for real? Or have they had the blessing of an easy schedule to open up the season? They have wins against the Hornets, Cavaliers, and two against the Knicks.
According to Strength of Schedule, they are 16th. So they may continue to win a lot of regular season games against lesser opponents, but pay attention to them against the better teams in the league.
- High individual scoring performances
We have already had thirteen 40-point performances! And those teams are 8-5 when those individuals have scored 40+ points.
Damian Lillard scored 60 points and home, and his team still lost. In an era where scoring is at an all-time high, it'll be interesting to see if defenses either find a way to slow these guys down or they let them jack the ball up 40 times in a game and just shut everyone else down and take the win.