1. The Jazz will be very good someday soon. Not only do they have very good young players, they crash the boards hard, push the ball as often as they can and play hard nosed defense full of effort. They will only get better as their young players become a more cohesive offensive and defensive team.
2. The Celtics are going with amorphous lineups that often feature two power forwards two small forwards and a point guard. This allows them to have the ability to create mismatches at most positions. However on the defensive end this has lead to Boston changing how they play defense. This year they are switching on every screen. With this defense every player has to be in sync defending from every position (where as when you do not switch you only have to play defense from your specific position). Understandably that causes more room for confusion. This confusion has lead to breakdowns, which should decrease as the season goes on (he says hopefully)
3. James Harden was worth every player and every penny that it cost to get him in Houston. While leading the NBA in scoring I’m sure his bill payers aren’t complaining. With this trade and signing Houston has a buildblock to set the team around and Daryl Morey has kept his job.
4. The Knicks look as good as they have during anytime in their recent Melo era. The key to this is, Carmelo playing as a huge scoring option at the power forward position. It will be interesting to see what happens when A’mare comes back, does he push Melo to the three or come off the bench? No matter what they decide to do the New York media will make sure you hear way too much about it.
5. Kemba Walker has taken a big jump in his second year. Averaging 18.6 points 5.6 assists and 3.2 steals. We shouldn’t be surprised that he is exceeding expectations. Heading to college he wasn’t the top recruit his high school pedigree would indicate. He continued to improve and ended up leading UCONN to a title. After his rookie year people doubted if he will ever be the elite player his draft status would indicate. This year he is again proving people wrong.
6. The Clippers look great. In order to see why you don’t need to look further than DeAndre Jordan. When he talked about an improving post game this off-season I was skeptical. He has developed a solid jump hook to complement his athleticism and strong motor. His ability to small allows others to get more open shots, but more importantly it allows him to stay on the court. With Jordan on the court the Clippers are better defensively.
7. The Grizzlies are finally living up to the promise that everyone heaped upon them after the knocked off the San Antonio Spurs two years ago without Rudy Gay. Last year Zach Randolph was hurt most of the year. For the first time the Grizz have everyone healthy at the same time and are looking great.
8. Brooklyn could end up a team to go far in the playoffs given the right math ups. They are one of the best rebounding teams in a conference where a lot of teams go small. If they run into Boston or Miami in the playoffs this team could give these favorites problems.
9. The Milwaukee Bucks are looking like a classic Scott Skiles team. They are playing hard, defending and sharing the basketball. If they are truly a typical Scott Skiles team his players will get tired of getting yelled at, stop passing the ball and give no defensive effort by season end.
10. Detroit and Washington look bad. I expected these two teams to compete for the last playoff spot, only two weeks in and I want a redo on that one. John Wall will help when he gets back and Rodney Stuckey won’t shoot 28% forever but I still want to say my bad on that prediction.