5 Teams that are Surprising Everyone

It usually takes a little while to determine the standings in the NBA once a season begins. This is because teams can end up playing teams that are a lot worse or better than them, which won’t accurately reflect how well they play as a team. But in some cases, even within the first week, you can somewhat accurately predict how well a team will do. Today, we’re talking about five teams that are surprising everyone, and might end up being playoff or championship contenders.

#5: Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks have been turning heads since the start of the season, especially Trae Young. In their first game, against the Chicago Bulls, Atlanta won by 20 points, 124-104! Trae Young had an absurd 37 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds. While Trae’s stat line was the most electric, almost everyone did their part. Everyone in the starting five scored in double digits. Off the bench, Kevin Huerter and Bogdan Bogdonovic combined for 26 points and nine rebounds. In their next game, they played the Memphis Grizzlies and Ja Morant, and won by 10 points. This time, Trae Young posted 36 points and nine assists, while both De’Andre Hunter and John Collins posted double-doubles. Against the Detroit Pistons, they won by eight points, with everyone chipping in, and again, Trae Young leading the way, this time with 29 points, six assists, and three rebounds. They eventually lost to the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving-led Nets, but only by four points. While this team is not yet in contention for a championship, they have a solid young core that only appears to be growing better. They won against sub-par or slightly above average teams, but it appears as though Atlanta will make the playoffs this year.

#4: New Orleans Pelicans

While the Pelicans appear to have started out as average on the surface, with a 4-2 record, don’t let that fool you. With Zion’s minute restrictions off, and Brandon Ingram’s All-Star type play, the Pelicans look to be a contender in future years. In their first game, they beat the two seasons ago champion Toronto Raptors, 113-99. In this game, Zion posted a 15 point-10 rebound double-double, while Brandon Ingram nearly had a triple double, with 24 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds, and three steals. Eric Bledsoe chipped in 18 points, Lonzo Ball had 16 points, and JJ Reddick had 23 points. These superb performances show just how good a healthy Pelicans team can be when they are ready and loaded. The next game they lost, but Zion had 32 points and 14 rebounds, while Brandon Ingram put up 28 points. Zion and Brandon Ingram make one of the greatest one-two punch combos in the NBA this season, and one of the youngest. If injuries don’t derail their career, they have the potential to become an All-Time great duo.

#3: Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers have actually gotten their 72-game season off to a good start. They currently sit at a 4-2 record, and the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference. They actually won their first three games to start the season. Andre Drummond has had monster double-doubles in every single game of the season so far, and will likely be an All-Star. Collin Sexton and Darius Garland have also broken out as rising young stars who will help the team grow. Kevin Porter Jr getting arrested in the offseason didn’t help them, but it’s amazing that the Cavaliers are doing this well with Kevin Love on the sidelines. They might just make the playoffs for the first year since Lebron James departed in 2018.

#2: Phoenix Suns

So many people were impressed with the Phoenix Suns’ 8-0 run in the bubble, including myself. It was really a shame they missed the playoffs, because we all saw the potential in Utah. The one thing keeping them from really becoming a top contender in the Western Conference was they needed another star to play alongside Devin Booker. Once they traded for Chris Paul, everyone set very high expectations for them this season, and so far, they have delivered. The Suns have a stupendous 5-1 record, and hold the number one seed in the Western Conference! This is the same conference that is home to Lebron and AD, Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz, and the up and coming Pelicans. The only loss the Kings have had all season was to the Sacramento Kings, where they lost by just three points. Deandre Ayton is proving that he could be a great center for years to come, while the backcourt is doing their part. In their first game, Chris Paul only had eight points, but Devin Booker scored 22 against Luka and the Mavericks. In a rematch against the Kings, Chris Paul had eight points and 12 assists while Devin Booker had 20 and Ayton had a double-double. Jae Crowder and Cameron Johnson have been other main sources of points in the Suns offense, and I have no doubt they will continue to grow and bond as the year keeps going.

#1: Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic have started this NBA season 4-2, with wins against the Wizards, Heat, and Thunder. Nikola Vucevic has been great, with 4 double-doubles in five games. Players such as Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier have started taking their game to the next level, but the real surprise has been Markelle Fultz. Almost everyone assumed that Markelle would never live up to the hype coming out of college, and he hasn’t yet. But Fultz has been putting up some great games, including a 26-point game against the Wizards, in which he led the Magic to a 17-point comeback. Fultz also had an 11 point, 10 assist double-double in a win against the Magic, and has won the job for starting point guard. Terrence Ross has also been preforming well, good enough for the Magic to hold the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference. Now, it is a long season and there are many ups and downs, but I don’t think the Magic will be bounced in the first round of the playoffs this year by Giannis or KD. No, I think they can get a little further, and get bounced in the second round, or Eastern Conference Finals if they are really lucky and keep operating well.

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