Allen Bridge, ‘Doah Staff Writer
December 4, 2013
With every new season comes new surprises. Some are good and some not so much. No matter what professional sport, there are always those teams that will come out of no where and be one of the top teams. On the other side are are teams that you expect to do well and then end up stumbling out of the gate. The NBA season this year is no different with a couple teams that are surprising everyone.
The Portland Trail Blazers are doing surprisingly well this year. Their record stands at 13-3 and they are second in the Western Conference behind the San Antonio Spurs. The Trail Blazers are certainly not a team full of superstars like Miami, but rather a team full of players who are dedicated and put in maximum effort. Led by center Lamarcus Aldridge and forward Nicolas Batum, the Trail Blazers hit their stride after starting the season 2-2. Portland went on to win 10 straight games before finally dropping a game to the Phoenix Suns. The question remains to be seen whether or not Portland can keep up the good play and make it to the playoffs come April.
The Indiana Pacers are the top team in the league at 14-1. Last season, they lost in the Eastern Conference championship to the Miami Heat and they are looking to make that final push to the NBA Finals. The only team appearing to stand in their way this season would be the Heat, who are second in the East behind Indiana. In the offseason, Indiana made some very important moves starting with adding Hall of Famer Larry Bird as their President of Basketball
Operations. They re-signed David West and Paul George, then signed guard C.J. Watson for some backcourt depth. Indiana boasts the best defense in the league with big man Roy Hibbert manning the middle, and Paul George shutting down the opposing team’s superstar player. They are efficient on offense and use their defense well to get out on the fast break.
Indiana started off the season 9-0 before finally falling to Chicago. Indiana has proven to be a tough team to beat this season so far and they are only going to get better once forward Danny Granger returns from injury. This will be a scary team once the playoffs start and are definitely one of the more pleasant surprises this season.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the New York Knicks were looking to challenge Miami and Indiana in the East heading into the season. This is a team that has all-star Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, JR Smith, Andrea Bargnani and added Metta World Peace in the offseason. With plenty of big names and superstar talent, New York was definitely on the brink of making a deep playoff push later in the season. However, things have not gone that way. The Knicks sit at a dismal 3-11 and are struggling to find any chemistry as a team. Carmelo is averaging 23 shots per game but is only making about nine of them. As a team, they are only shooting 42% from the field. To go along with their poor shooting, this is a team that doesn’t like to pass the ball either. They are forcing a lot of poor shots and are not moving the ball at all as they are ranked 27 in the league in assists. It’s not that the team is playing poor defense either, the offense is unable to generate any sort of production leading to the Knicks disappointing start.
Perhaps more disappointing than the Knicks this season is the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets entered the season as one of the more hopeful teams looking to power their way to a deep playoff run. The Nets are led by new head coach Jason Kidd. They added big names in free agency in the offseason starting by re-signing all-star point guard Deron Williams, lockdown defender Gerald Wallace and star center Brook Lopez.
They then acquired Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from Boston, adding guard Jason Terry as well. There were many high expectations for this team heading to the season, but the team has already been hit with the injury bug. Williams and Terry are out, as well as Lopez. The team looks dysfunctional under Kidd, and his action of spilling a drink on the court to delay the game doesn’t make things better. The Nets have the talent to turn things around, but they will need to gel together as a team.