We are right about at the halfway point of the NBA season now. So we can look at the team’s records, double the wins and losses and see what the records would be if each team plays at its current pace. So which teams records would be a pleasant surprise based on last year or what we thought they would be this year? And what teams would we be disappointed in if they keep up the current pace?
1. Houston Rockets- This team went to the Western Conference Finals last year and halfway through this year is languishing near the .500 mark. That has to be a huge disappointment for Rockets fans. Their Head Coach, Kevin McHale, was fired before Thanksgiving. It seems James Harden has adopted the philosophies of Bill Murray in “Space Jam” when Murray declared that he doesn’t play defense. How could the Rockets lose a game when Dwight Howard grabs 26 rebounds and only misses four free throws all night on 18 attempts? Easy. You give up 22 three pointers.
New Orleans Pelicans- Let the Pelicans be a cautionary tale on why you don’t go to the playoffs for the first time anyone can recall, then fire the coach for not getting you farther. The Pelicans went down to the Golden State Warriors last season in the first round, then hired a Warriors assistant to be the Head Coach. Alvin Gentry has spent the first half of the season trying to teach the Pelicans how they do it in the Bay Area. The problem is the Pelicans don’t have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. So it’s not working as they have fallen to 14-27 and well out of the playoffs.
1. New York Knicks– The Knicks were a train wreck a season ago and their first round pick, some foreign guy named Porzingis had some of the fans booing at the Draft and some actually in tears. But now, Knicks fans love their new rookie sensation from that country they are not sure where it is located. Will this rookie be the next “Big Thing” in New York? Or will he be the next Jeremy Lin? Nobody knows right now but what we do know is the Knicks are playing .500 ball at the halfway point, and nobody saw that coming.
2. San Antonio Spurs– Why is this a surprise? It shouldn’t be. What more does Gregg Popovich have to do to prove to us that he is a coaching genius? What more do the Spurs have to do to prove to us that they should never be underestimated? But, even with the huge splash fee agent signing of LaMarcus Aldridge to go along with emerging star Kawhi Leonard, most thought the Spurs would struggle to stay among the top four teams in the Western Conference. Well, right now the Spurs have quietly gone 36-6. Yes, that’s right people, the Spurs are on pace to win 70 games. How do you do this quietly? Thank the Warriors for going off at a 39-4 clip. But also, this is what San Antonio does. They don’t attract much attention, but at the end of the season, here they are.
Some other disappointing teams would have to be the Washington Wizards, Brooklyn Nets and Phoenix Suns. Other teams that may be surprising some folks would include the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic and the Warriors. I know the Warriors are the defending champs, but who saw 39-4 happening?