I am going to keep these all relatively short so there may be players that I don’t mention but still like, but this is just a short immediate reaction to each NBA team.
Atlanta Hawks: Trae Young, Trae Young go off! Trae has been on fire but unfortunately he is dealing with an ankle injury that he suffered in their fourth game. He averaged 34 points to go along with his 9 assists the first 3 games of the year. Cam Reddish has been struggling, but obviously he is still very young and can grow into a stud. This team is set for the future and will only grow from here. When Trae gets healthy, this team can make a serious playoff run.
Boston Celtics: Do NOT sleep on this team! I know this might be a hot take, but seeing Kemba play with some talent around him is very enticing. I think this team has shown a lot this season, but they are still very young. The most pivotal thing for this team is the play of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. These guys need to take a leap, playing it simple. Tatum is shooting the 3 ball like everyone wants him to at 48.3% but his field goal percentage is 37.3%. This is because “his game” is taking midrange shots and creating for himself and those just haven’t been falling for him. The teams offense looks stagnant when he plays iso ball, but he is still playing well. If Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown continue their hot start to this years season, along with some rookies stepping up, the Celtics could win a lot of games this year.
Brooklyn Nets: I feel for this team. I really do. Starting out at 1-3 is not easy especially when you are playing as well as they are. Kyrie Irving has been unconscious. He dropped 50 in his first career game as a member of his hometown Nets. Yet they still lost the game. But this is not his teammates fault either. His co-star, (for this season) Caris Lavert is picking up right where he left off in the playoffs, averaging 19-4-4 with over a steal a game. This team will get some games in the W column soon, it’s only a matter of time. Don’t panic nets fans, you still have KD next year.
Charlotte Hornets: Excuse my french but wtf Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets are 2-3 as of right now including a historic 1st game, draining a franchise record 23 3 pointers. The emergence of P.J. Washington has taken the NBA by storm. I actually talked about him in my article for the goals this season for each team, as a player I liked for the future, but did not expect this immediate of an impact. He started the season off averaging 16 points, shooting 52% from 3. Devonte Graham has also caught fire. The Kansas alumni is averaging 16.4 points, shooting 51.5% from 3. He has also showed off playmaking ability as he is averaging 7.6 assists. This teams young pieces look nice, but I still don’t think they will contend for a playoff spot this year.
Chicago Bulls: I am absolutely appalled by the play of this team. To say the least, they are the most disappointing team in the league for the first couple of weeks. They have gone up in almost all of their games, and have had some of the worst 4th quarter stretches ever. The Knicks ended their game against the Bulls on a 16-0 run in the last 3 minutes. They took their first lead of the game with 2 minutes left! They also let the Cavs come from behind as well. This teams needs to learn how to close out games otherwise it will be a long season.
Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs are 2-2 this year and the only game I have watched of theirs was the one against the Bulls. Sexton looks impressive as an athlete and a scorer but still has yet to prove that he can be a playmaker in this league. Garland is off to a slow start as well, averaging just 9.5 points and 3.5 assists. This team has won games due to the play of Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love (who probably just wants to gain trade interest).
Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic’s second year so far has not just met the high standards, but exceeded them. Luka is averaging 25 points 9 rebs and 7 assists which are All-Starter type numbers. And that’s even after his last game against the Nuggets in which he only had 12-4-5, but they played great basketball as a team. It is also very exciting to see Kristaps come back as what seems to be the All-Star he once was before his injury. He is averaging 22 points and 8 rebounds to go with his 2.5 blocks. This duo is young and lethal and can make some noise this season and will for a long time in this league.
Denver Nuggets: The Nuggets are all about team basketball and they have showed just that this season. Although nobody has stood out individually, we know Jokic is their guy, and we know what he brings to the table. He’s an elite passer at the center position and a great scorer as well. He hasn’t showed off much of his scoring ability yet, but as the season progresses he will become more aggressive at getting to the rim. Michael Porter Jr. has showed a little promise, and I hope that he continues to, as he dropped 15 points in their last game against the Pelicans. This team will be a tough team to beat once Jokic gets going.
Detroit Pistons: It is not always easy starting the year off without your best player (Blake Griffin) but the Pistons still remain 2-3 with some hope. Andre Drummond looks extremely dominate so far. He is averaging 21 points, 17.4 rebs to go along with 2 blocks a game. Not only this but Derrick Rose is on a mission. He is on a mission to prove that last season was no fluke. He is averaging 20.4 pts and 6.2 assists in his resurgence. Not only that, but the year 3 play of the Duke guard Luke Kennard has been really promising. He is averaging 15 points and shooting 45% from 3 after only averaging 8 points for the first 2 years of his career. When Blake comes back, this team can win some games.
Golden State Warriors: This team has been upsetting for sure. I’m not gonna use the word disappointing because it is an unfortunate situation with all the injuries they have been plagued with. First, losing Klay for most likely the season after the events of their last game is highly likely. In their last game, Steph Curry suffered a broken left hand in their game against the suns the other night. This will probably provoke them to keep Klay on the bench the rest of the season as well because they are no longer a contender. They have announced that they will be preparing for a high draft pick. Prayers out to Steph and Klay.
Houston Rockets: I love this team! This is easily the most fun team in the league to watch. Starting off the season 3-1 looks, the best friend/ duo of James Harden and Russell Westbrook have proven to the league that they can make things work. Harden erupted for 59 the other night to go along with his 9 assists. Even with Harden taking 32 shots, Russ was still able to pick up his triple double with 17-10-12. Russ brings a whole new dynamic to their offense that they didn’t have before. They can get out and run now and really score in transition which is something they lacked last year. Often easy buckets like that get the team going and may be the thing that prevents James Harden from having a cold night. This team is a serious contenders!
Indiana Pacers: I talked about the impact of Malcolm Brogdon in my goals article. Brogdon has been nothing short of spectacular. He is averaging 22-5-11 and shooting 38% from 3. This number will only go up. He could be in the conversation for most improved player when it’s all said and done because he is taking on a much newer role at that point guard spot. Sabonis got paid this offseason yeah, but, why does that all of the sudden make him a starter? Let him play the great 6 man role that he played last year. If this team can “stay solid” like I mentioned in my goals article, than when they get Oladipo back in December-February, they may be able to make a little noise. Also prayers out to Myles Turner on his injury.
Los Angeles Clippers: Wow. That’s all I gotta say. This team came out strong with their 4-2 start. They took no prisoners against the Lakers on opening night and beat the Warriors with Steph by 20 2 nights later. Kawhi is averaging 29-7-6 to go along with 2 steals and is looking like an early MVP candidate. That is of course if he plays enough games. The shooters they have around him are knocking down their shots such as Patrick Patterson and Landry Shamet. JaMychal Green and Mo Harkless fit in really nice with that bench unit run by Lou Will and Montrezl Harrell. Every member on this team is bought into the defensive system and plays well as a cohesive unit. By the way, Paul George-an MVP candidate last year- has yet to play a game. When he comes back, I cannot see anybody stopping this team.
Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers have had a very solid start at 3-1. Some Lakers fans are complaining that Lebron isn’t dominating in the points column(23 ppg) or anything like that but if you think about it in the grand scheme of things it makes sense. Lebron knows this is a marathon and not a sprint. He knows the season is long and that he is getting older, and needs to save some for the playoffs. Not only this, Lebron is playing with a lot of new guys that may not be used to playing with him. He often has found himself passing out of drives to find open shooters when he can probably go up for a contested dunk or layup and make it. The reason I think Lebron is doing this is to instill confidence in the guys around him. Lebron won’t be able to do it all down the stretch and neither will AD and they know that. Lebron is going to need guys like Danny Green, Avery Bradley, KCP, Jared Dudley and Quinn Cook to hit some big shots in the playoffs. Lebron knows what he is in for and he is preparing his team for it better than anyone else can.
Memphis Grizzlies; Some of you guys May know if you read my last article how much I like this young core they have even though they still have a couple of years with lottery picks probably. Ja has been very good. Averaging 17 points and 5 assists to go along with almost 2 steals is great for a rookie. Often rookie point guards struggle to start, but he has gone out their and just simply played his game. Brandon Clarke has been great this year. His 10.5 points 5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks a game bring a different intensity to this team on the defensive end. He fits really well with Jaren Jackson Jr. who is having a great year himself averaging 15 points and 6.5 rebounds to go along with a block a game. The players on this team need to play their game and let everyone develop in order to be part of something special in the future.
Miami Heat: This team looks real nice. Starting off 4-1 due to the emergence of their 2 rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro. Nunn leads all rookies in points per game with 22 and Herro is not far behind him with 16. Bam Adebayo is playing like the center they need and is averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds and showing off a little playmaking with his 5 assists per game. He also has almost 2 blocks a game. Plays the small ball center role perfectly. Now that Jimmy is back, it will only help this team and their route to the playoffs.
Milwaukee Bucks: This team has had a solid start at 2-2. We all know what Giannis brings to the table but the loss of Brogdon has certainly effected them. His replacement Wesley Matthews has been effective but he is nowhere near what Brogdon is. We all know what this team brings as they brought back almost an identical team. Hopefully Giannis can make a run at his first ring this year.
Minnesota Timberwolves: This is the most surprising team to me. Starting off the season at 3-1, Karl-Anthony Towns looks like an early MVP candidate. He is no longer just a center. Towns has been on the wing taking step back 3s like a guard. He is averaging 27 points, 11.5 rebs, 4 assists to go along with his 2.5 steals a game and 1.8 blocks. He is shooting 54% from the field, and 52% from 3. You can make a serious argument that he has been the best player in the league through the first 2 weeks. Jarrett Culver has been disappointing to start the season. He is only averaging 3 points on 26% shooting. Once he finds his shot he may emerge as one of the better players in his loaded draft class. If this team keeps winning, Karl-Anthony Towns could end up being a serious MVP candidate.
New Orleans Pelicans: Starting off 1-4 may seem upsetting for this team, but they really aren’t playing all that bad. Even without Zion, they are the second highest scoring team in the league. We all know the the scoring impact and the defensive impact that Zion brings to a team. I have been really impressed with the early play of Lonzo Ball averaging 12.4 points and 7.5 assists to go along with 1.6 steals. He is even shooting 37% from 3 which is very good. Most importantly though Brandon Ingram has been an absolute stud. He is averaging 27-8-5 all while shooting 50% from 3. Truly amazing to see how a player can break out in a different setting, as he is playing like an all-star right now. When this team gets Zion back it will only help and maybe they could make a playoff run.
New York Knicks: Man I love me some R.J. Barrett. Averaging 18-6-3 while shooting 42% from 3 is amazing for a rookie. Not to mention a rookie that has already been titled the face of the franchise in New York City. R.J. is embracing all the love and even though the Knicks have started 1-4, he has a real bright future with some help. Elfrid Payton has come in and played very solid basketball at the point guard spot and Mitchell Robinson has also added a very solid year 2 so far. Julius Randle is also playing well averaging 15 ppg and 11 rebounds but is struggling to find his 3 point touch, shooting just 8% from 3. This will definitely improve. I hope the Knicks can continue to develop and become a great team in the future.
Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC has started out 1-4 but that does not matter. They are prepped for the future with draft picks. The play of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has exceeded expectations. Taken under the wing of veteran point guard Chris Paul, Shai has become lethal. He is averaging 21.6 ppg, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. He is doing this all while shooting the 3 ball at 33% which will only get better. Like I have been preaching, LET SHAI PLAY! as you may have read as my goal for this team this year. He has showed much promise for the future of this team, that little to nobody expected.
Orlando Magic: The 2-2 start for the Magic has been solid. Seeing Markelle Fultz back on the court is amazing. Averaging 11 points and 3 assists at the age of just 21 is great, and now that he is finally healthy (knock on wood), he has many years to develop. The play of Aaron Gordon has definitely held this team back. Like I mentioned in the goals article, he needs to take a leap in order to make this team successful. The fact that they have been still solid even with him averaging 9 points per game and only shooting 35% is promising. I hope that Aaron Gordon can improve and this team can make a playoff run.
Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers look like one of the strongest teams in the league so far. We all know about the play of Joel Embid, but I think that Ben Simmons is learning how to hide his lack of a shooting ability. He is moving more without the ball, cutting to the basket and coming off screens to get the ball in momentum going to the rim. He is also extremely locked in defensively with his 2.8 steals a game. Josh Richardson has also had a solid start to the season for this team providing even more defense and averaging 13-4-3 with almost 2 steals a game. This team is very good but could face spacing problems in the playoffs when teams tend to game plan more and Ben Simmons lack of a jump shot could possibly be exposed.
Phoenix Suns: Like I said in my goals article, I really like what they did with their team this offseason. They have really built a team this year rather than just having pieces which is proven by their 3-2 start. Rubio has taking a lot of the playmaking load off Devin Booker. Devin Booker can go out and do what he does best and that’s just, playing it simple, getting buckets (24 ppg). New head coach Monty Williams has placed every player into a role and it is a whole new look suns team. Cam Johnson and Oubre hitting their shots on the wing as well as the solid play of Rubio and Saric and even Aaron Baynes in the absence of Deandre Ayton has been the key to this team’s success. I still don’t think this team will be a playoff team in the west but seeing this early promise looks great for the future.
Portland Trail Blazers: This is another team I love just like the Rockets. I would love to see Damian Lillard get himself a ring after all he has been though (future article idea?). The 3-2 start of this team is very solid. I think the addition of Hassan Whiteside has been very good for them as he is averaging 13 points and 12 rebounds with over a block a game. Other than that this team is similar to their past years and will be a solid team that probably makes the playoffs. I would like to see Nassir Little get some more minutes and give this team some more defensive grit.
Sacramento Kings: After their breakout season last year, the Kings have taken a bit of a step back. Starting the season off 0-5, has been mainly because of the loss of Marvin Bagley. Bagley looked like a stud in the preseason. This Kings team looked like they would be very solid this year and because of his injury the results have not been there. I hope that when he comes back this team can get back on track because De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield are still having solid years themselves.
San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs are again, the solid team they always are. Looking to make the playoffs for a 23rd straight year under head coach Greg Popovich, their 3-1 start is a great start. DeMar Derozan has been playing some of his best basketball. Averaging 24-5-2 with a steal a game is some of Derozan’s best numbers of his career and he is also closing out games for them effectively. The return of Dejounte Murray has been pivotal for this team. He is averaging 13-8-5 on 52% shooting, but it is his defensive impact that truly separates him from other point guards. He is averaging 2.2 steals and just under a block a game. I think this team has a very solid chance to make the playoffs again, but in the West it might be hard.
Toronto Raptors: The defending champs look like… the defending champs with their 4-1 record. The obvious difference is that there is no Kawhi on their team and most of their solid veterans have contracts that are up at the end of the year. Pascal Siakam has a bright future in this league. The most improved player last year, has emerged as more than just that this season. He is averaging 28-9-4 and shooting 44% from 3. Siakam’s excellence is met with the great play of Fred Vanvleet. He is averaging 17-4-7 while shooting 40% from 3 with 1.4 steals a game. I would love to see this team make another run, but although I do see this team being successful, I don’t think that they will be a top seed in the east.
Utah Jazz: I love this Jazz team. I think that they are going to be great. The first 4 games of the season, their new point guard Mike Conley (who has played at an all-star level for so long) struggled badly. The team was still good enough to hold down the fort and remain 3-1. Conley went off in their 5th game, putting up 29 points and 5 assists and I hope that this helps him find his game. The play of Bojan Bogdanovic has been crucial for this team. He has filled the void for the Jazz of a great shooter. He is averaging 21 points and shooting 44% from 3. I really hope this team can make a run this season.
Washington Wizards: There is not much to say about this Wizards team because we didn’t expect them to be all that good. Bradley Beal has been his usual great self averaging 27-6-8. Thomas Bryant is having a very solid season we’ll averaging 14.5 points and 10 rebounds to go along with his 2 blocks a game. The play of rookie Rui Hachimura has also been very promising. He is averaging 18 points per game which amongst the top of the leaderboards for rookies. Although Washington is on the top in the baseball world, it may be a while until they return to contention for basketball.
I hope you enjoyed my first reactions for each team through this point in the season. It has been a very fun season so far and it will only get better. I know I might have left out some players on teams but I tried to point out the guys who are different, and we usually don’t know what to expect from them. Let me know if you have any feedback or just wanna talk hoops.