This past year has been filled with surprises. Some of the biggest ones come from the sports world, particularly with surprising NBA teams. You will be most surprised to find that people are starting to put respect on the Knicks. Yes, the Knicks. Another shocker in the East is that the Hornets are in a good position as of right now. The West looks a little different as well. The Nuggets are sitting at 7th just after a playoff run looking for a championship. The Suns on the other hand, are sitting at 4th, just after a season of disappointment in which they went 8-0 in the NBA bubble, but missing the playoffs.
When I think of surprising in the Eastern conference, four teams come to mind, the Knicks, the Hornets the Celtics and the Heat.
Let’s talk about the Hornets. It may seem hard to believe but MJ is having a successful year of being an owner. He picked up a steal for Gordon Hayward and drafted LaMelo Ball. Gordon Hayward is having a phenomenal year. Hayward is averaging 22, 6 and 4 compared to his career stats of 15, 4 and 4. If the season ended today, the Hornets would clinch the 7th spot in the playoffs.
Another shocker is the Knicks. The Knicks may be 15-17, but to put that into perspective, just a few years ago they were finishing seasons with just 30 wins. They are currently tied with the Boston Celtics. This is where the Celtics come into play.
The Celtics were picked by many to win the championship this year. They have three young stars in Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart. Smart is one of the most underrated players in the league. You can see just how much the Celtics are struggling with him out with a calf strain. Just last year the Celtics were battling for the Eastern Conference title against the Heat. This takes me to the true shocker team in the East. The Heat.
Just last year they were battling the Lakers in the NBA finals as a 5th seed. Yes. A 5th seed. Now they are in 8th place. The big reason for this is because of Tyler Herro’s underperformance. He broke out in the playoffs last year, but hasn’t looked himself so far in 2020-2021.
Now for the Western Conference. My biggest surprise is the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets went from The Western Conference Championships and the 3rd seed, to being in 7th place. The thing that is most to blame for this is the fact that the West has gotten a lot better. Teams like the Suns are popping off and plenty of other teams are stacked as well.
The Suns have also shocked me. They have the most underrated player of all time in Chris Paul AND Devin Booker leading the backcourt. You can argue that Devin Booker was the biggest snub of the 2021 NBA ASG. I know we all remember when the Suns went 8-0 in the NBA bubble last year just to not make the playoffs. That momentum seems to have carried over, aided by the arrival of CP3.
A Surprising Season So Far
These have been the most surprising NBA teams of the season; COVID won’t be the only thing that makes the 2020-2021 NBA season historic. Now, who do I think is the biggest shocker? It has to be the Celtics. They were just in the ECF and right now are barely holding onto a playoff spot if the season ended today. Still a lot of games to play, though.