We are 20 games into the NBA season. Let’s take a look at the Top 5 surprises so far this year. 76ers? Kobe? McHale? Warriors? There’s a lot to talk about so far…
5. It takes 20 games for the Philadelphia 76ers to get a win. After years of tanking to get new talent in Philly some would believe that they would be a team trending upward by now (especially with the addition of Jahlil Okafor). The Sixers went 0-19 before finally getting a win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
4. This Just In! Kobe Bryant is old and damaged. After having surgery and sitting out most of last season, many people believed that Kobe would come back and be ready to take charge of the Los Angeles Lakers. Some fans and media outlets even picked the Lakers to make the playoffs… until they watched them play! Kobe is shooting terribly and is disrupting the flow of the game to get his shots off. Since he is no longer a threat to blow by anyone and explode to the rim he is forced to take a lot of bad three-pointers and long jumpers.
3. The Houston Rockets fire Kevin McHale. Just 11 games into the season the Houston Rockets fired their head coach Kevin McHale. The Rockets are fresh off of a trip to the Western Conference Finals with James Harden as a leader up for MVP honors. Flash forward to a 4-7 start this season and the first to be taken out is McHale. Meanwhile, the Rockets’ defensive woes continue and they are around .500 since showing Kevin McHale the door.
2. Kristaps Porzingis is the new big man in The Big Apple. When the New York Knicks drafted Kristaps Porzingis everyone scratched their heads. Even Phil Jackson said that he would be a project that would take a couple of years to come around. Porzingis hit the ground running, displaying a wide variety of talents from ball handling to ferocious dunks. So far this season, the seven-footer has shown that he has the game and the attitude to make it in the NBA. Porzingis is averaging around 14 points per game to go with nine rebounds and even has Carmelo Anthony singing his praises.
1. Golden State is still number one with a zero in the loss column. After winning last season’s NBA Championship, the Warriors felt more disrespect than ever in the past. Critics threw out words like lucky and fluke, stating that their “small ball” couldn’t possibly continue to work. After 20 games into the season, all Golden State has done is knock off every team that has gone against them. Steph Curry is looking like the greatest player on the planet (poised for his second MVP trophy) and add to the mix that the Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has been absent due to back surgeries. Assistant coach Luke Walton has filled in quite nicely even being named Western Conference Coach of the Month for the month of November. With a 20-0 record, it may be a while before the Warriors take their first loss.
By Gordon Robinson