The first quarter of the NBA seasons has given fans a lot to chew on. There have been huge surprises, bitter disappointments, breakout players, and highlights galore.
We rounded up some of the Hoops Habit staff for an NBA quarter-mark survey to get their thoughts on the season thus far. Here are the top NBA predictions and reactions.
NBA Predictions and Reactions: Which player or team has been the best surprise so far?
Michael Shearer (@bballispoetry): The Phoenix Suns. Count me as one of the haters who expected them to come back down to earth this season, but they’ve conclusively proven me wrong. The core is playing better than ever, Javale McGee has been a great addition, and they’ve managed to do it all despite numerous off-court distractions. Honorable mention goes to the weirdly good Magic starting lineup.
Chris Jeter (@cjet91): Cleveland Cavaliers. If you predicted that the Cavs would have a winning record at this point of the season, congratulations for being able to see the future, because that’s the only way anyone could feel safe making that pick. Even wilder, their Pythagorean record shows that they should have a slightly better record than they have. Between Darius Garland taking that next step and a top-five defense that disallows threes, there are plenty of reasons to get excited about this Cleveland team.
Corey Rausch (@PolitoedHoops): The Washington Wizards. Coming into the season with expectations of battling for the play-in, to be just a game and a half out of the top seed at the one-quarter mark is surprising. Bradley Beal is averaging just 22.7 points per game and shooting 26.9 percent from distance and it does not matter. Montrezl Harrell has been a force. Wes Unseld Jr. may be the coach of the year. Everything about this is surprising.
Zane Harris (@ZaneHarris20): The team that has been the best surprise for me this season so far is the Chicago Bulls. As we have seen across the league, when big stars come to teams there is typically a period of time in which they learn to mesh and play together. However, this has not been the case for the Bulls, who have looked great right off the bat. The re-emergence of DeMar DeRozan and getting to see Alex Caruso play a bigger role has been great to see so far this season.
Brandon Marcus (@JumpBallBrandon): Honestly, I am most surprised by the Phoenix Suns. I don’t know why I’m surprised since they made it to the Finals last year, but I suppose I didn’t expect them to be doing THIS well. Even with one of the most competitive and talented leagues we’ve seen in some time, the Suns seem to be downright unbeatable right now. The only question is if it’ll last.
Peter O’Keefe (@POK252): I had the Washington Wizards as the eighth seed at the beginning of the season, a mark they’re far surpassing to this point in the year. Although there’s a question mark next to the top-end talent on the roster outside Bradley Beal, there’s no doubt that the Russell Westbrook trade improved their overall depth, a move important in stacking regular-season wins. Wes Unseld Jr. is doing a fantastic job in his debut season as coach, and a top-four seed is not out of the realm of possibility given Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant are yet to be seen.
Jack Simone (@JackSimoneNBA): I am absolutely loving the progression of Miles Bridges. I cover the Hornets as well and watching him explode off the canvas every night has been a joy. Bridges looks like an All-Star, and the Hornets are going to have to match a big-time contract when he becomes an RFA this summer. Cole Anthony has been a very, very close second.