The first weekend of the 2015/16 NBA season is over, and most teams in the Association have played two to three games. That’s not a big enough volume to form any serious opinions regarding who the surprise teams will be this year. However, there are some early hints that the Detroit Pistons are going to over-achieve when compared to pre-season expectations.
Here’s a look at the division leaders where every pre-season divisional favorite has at least a share of the division lead except for the Cleveland Cavaliers:
Atlantic – Toronto Raptors, 3-0
Central – Detroit Pistons, 3-0
Southeast – Atlanta Hawks, 3-1
Northwest – OKC Thunder, 3-0
Pacific – LA Clippers/Golden State Warriors, 3-0
Southwest – Three teams, including San Antonio, 2-1
Detroit, who entered the season as 125 to 1 longshots to win their division (bet365), still have a perfect record following a close win on Saturday night against the Chicago Bulls. Coach Stan Van Gundy has to like the fact that his side won all three of their games as underdogs, defeating Atlanta and Utah additional to Chicago. That is a major hint that his side is below the radar a bit, and it will be interesting to see how they are doing after 12 to 15 games are played. In my opinion, Cleveland will still emerge as divisional champs, but the Pistons could prove themselves to be a playoff team this year.
There are not many other surprises in the standings, nor are there many surprises for individual statistical leaders in the NBA.
Steph Curry has been massive so far in the association, averaging nearly 40 points per game and 7.3 assists. Surely, he is off to a fantastic start when it comes to repeating as league MVP, something I think he is going to do.
On the boards, Andre Drummond is the king rebounder so far. Detroit’s center has been a monster through three games, averaging 16.3 per outing. Importantly, he is a major presence on the offensive glass with 6.3 offensive boards per game. With those often leading to put backs, it’s not surprising to see Drummond averaging nearly 19 points per and he should get a ton of double-doubles this season.
Ricky Rubio is the player leading in assists per game so far. In what is expected to be a quiet season in Minnesota, Rubio has helped his team off to a 2-0 start. With both wins coming on the road, the Timberwolves’ fans have to be feeling good about the first week of games.
Key games on Monday night will feature Cleveland in Philadelphia and Memphis in Oakland to face Golden State. A couple other games to look forward to are the LA Clippers at Golden State on Wednesday (ESPN) and the OKC Thunder at Chicago on Thursday (TNT).