Most NBA teams have now played at least three games, which if I remember anything from stats class in high school, means we have a large enough sample size to make outrageous declarations: The Rockets are in trouble! The Pelicans are dead! LeBron James is in decline! The Pistons are the best team in the East! The Warriors are the best team in the league!
Actually that last one holds water. The defending champs came into this season extra motivated and have been beating teams faces in to start this year, highlighted by a 119-69 win over the Memphis Grizzlies (a team they met in the West semi-finals last season). Steph Curry is averaging 37 points a game and shooting nearly 50-percent from beyond the arc, so naturally, he’s wrapped up the MVP award already.
LeBron James could care less about another MVP, and to start the year, he’s averaging the lowest minutes per game of his career. The Cavs seem more interested in resting their star and developing a more reliable bench than unsustainable seven-man rotation they had in last year’s Finals.
A team many picked to finish near the top of the West again, the Rockets, stopped a skid of losing by 20-plus points by getting their first win of the year over the Oklahoma City Thunder. But they’re still three games back of Golden State and the L.A. Clippers in the conference race. (And in case you need to be reminded again, the West is the really good one!)
Meanwhile, the East has a somewhat surprising face at the top, as Stan Van Gundy’s new-look Detroit Pistons have rattled off three straight wins against quality teams and lead the league in rebounding. No matter what happens in the East, the rested Cavaliers will be the favorites come playoff time. But for rising teams like Detroit and the Toronto Raptors, building an early lead can help earn some home playoff games in a conference that is a complete toss up.
The NBA futures aren’t much different after one nutty week, but since we haven’t run any futures yet, here’s the complete list.
Odds to win the 2015-16 NBA Finals:
(Photo credit: 2O (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)
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