Fluke or for real? 5 teams wildly exceeding expectations in 2023–24

Indiana Pacers v Minnesota Timberwolves
Indiana Pacers v Minnesota Timberwolves / David Berding/GettyImages
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More than a third of the way through the 2023-24 NBA season, trends are becoming easier to assess. Are the way the teams are playing to this point for rule, or just a fluke through a significant portion of the campaign?

For much of the first third of the season, it feels easy to zero in on disappointments. The Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies, and Chicago Bulls come to mind. The losing streaks of the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons are impossible to look away from.

On the flip side, however, there are teams performing much better than expected. At this point of the season, it's time to determine if they're the genuine article or bound to fall back closer to where they were anticipated to be at the start of the season,

Are the teams wildly exceeding expectations in the 2023-24 NBA season for real or will their hot starts prove to be nothing more than a fluke?

Whether or not a team is real depends on context. For instance, if the Pistons were somehow 14-12 instead of 2-24, what would be for real is the team's progress towards playoff contention in their rebuild. One probably wouldn't say they were really a championship threat at that point, though.

Think we're not showing enough respect to your favorite team (or perhaps too much respect in the eyes of the pessimistic among us)? Let us know in the comments. At 19-5, Minnesota has the inside track for the first seed in the Western Conference come playoff time. Only the Boston Celtics have a better record in the NBA.