The NBA season is a bit of a strange beast. The 82 games – and the playoff format that sees more than half of the league’s 30 teams qualify for postseason play – mean that the regular season is often something of an afterthought on the American sporting landscape. This perception isn’t helped as the league tips off with the NFL and college football in full swing, and with the MLB playoffs closing out that marathon season too.
The timing is all a little awkward.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the NBA regular season should just be ignored. Teams that get off to hot starts are obviously going to be in a better position to make the playoffs – and to get a seed that gives them homecourt advantage – while teams that start slowly are leaving themselves with plenty of work to do to be playing basketball deep into the spring.
Here is a look at some hot and not teams from the season so far.
The Celtics own the best record in the league and they have flown out of the gate in 2019. This is a team worth keeping an eye on even if their record dips a little in the coming weeks after Gordon Hayward broke his left hand earlier this week. Hayward was averaging 23.3 points, 9 boards, and 6.3 assists over his previous four games when he went down with the injury.
This is the second straight season where the Bucks have started 7-3 and looked fantastic in doing so. They are riding Eric Bledsoe who has the hot shooting hand so far this autumn and the Bucks have managed to navigate through a road-heavy part of their schedule while picking up quality wins along the way.
The Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo has been in MVP form as he averaged nearly 30 points and over 14 rebounds and 7 assists per game. He is 2.35 to win the MVP award at the end of the season with BetXchange in what is a loaded field.
The LA teams
The 7-2 Lakers and the 6-3 Clippers have both bolted out of the starting blocks this season. The Lakers are doing it with defense – their offense is the 20th ranked unit in the league because they aren’t making shots from outside the paint – yet they are still winning games. When the offense comes along – and it will as there are too many good players here for it not to – then this will be a scary team.
The Clippers are 6-3 without Paul George having seen the floor yet. They are also 6-1 when Kawhi Leonard plays, having lost both games in which the All-NBA forward didn’t feature in. This is a team that can only improve as the health of its stars comes around.
New Orleans Pelicans
The 2-7 Pelicans have a bright future with mega-rookie Zion Williamson in the building, but he hasn’t been able to help them much defensively as the team has faces a host of top-10 offenses through the first nine games. Brandon Ingram is another bright spot for the Pelicans and he put up a career-high 40 points against Brooklyn earlier this season and looks like he might be a candidate for the Most Improved Player award. If you want to jump on Zion for Rookie of the Year, he can be had for 1.85 with BetXchange for the award.
New York Knicks
It is rough when the worst team in the league is in the biggest media market, but the 2-8 Knicks have just been shockingly bad so far in the 2019-20 season. Given the roster it is hard to argue that they should be doing too much better, but without Elfid Payton in the lineup, their offense – which is ranked last in the league – just hasn’t been able to do anything consistently enough to win.