So far the NBA season has played out pretty much as most people thought. The teams that people thought would be atop the standings are with very few surprises in the mix. Parity may be the name of the game in the NFL but in the NBA, there are the top teams and then there is everyone else.
In the Eastern Conference you have the Atlanta Hawks who were undefeated at 6-0 until Sunday night vs the Suns where they lost by 4 points. Then, there are the Boston Celtics at 6-1, Orlando Magic at 4-1, and the much hyped Miami Heat at 5-2. The Cleveland Cavaliers are next at 3-3 along with the New York Knicks with the same record. The Hawks have a very good offensive team that is getting better on defense. New head coach Larry Drew has instituted the motion offense and it is keeping 5 to 6 players in double digit points per game. Rebounds are moving up in numbers as well. Where the Hawks are hurting is their bench and the lack of a big man in the middle. They lost the game to the Suns because of the bench and it's something they need to get working or get Marvin and Mo off the injury list. The Celtics are quite possibly the best all around team in the game. They can do it all. Scoring, defense, and oh yes, the assists. Rajon Rondo has been ridiculous so far this season with assists and the Celtics are on fire. They are playing championship caliber basketball and we are only 7 games in. The Magic keep on doing their thing with Howard leading the way. They just go about their business without the hype. The Magic have one superstar and then a lot of contributing players who do their part every night. It takes a team to win in basketball. Something the Heat are still not grasping. The Heat have had games where the triplets have been ALL the offense in the game and they have had games where other players have gotten into the mix. They have had games where LeBron was ALL the offense, which is no different than how he played in Cleveland. The Heat are still trying to figure out how to play with 3 guys who are all used to being THE guy and also learn that it takes more than 3 guys to win a lot of games. Look at the Celtics, Hawks, and Magic - they win with MANY guys contributing, not just a few.
In the Western Conference it's all about the Lakers, as usual. Kobe and company are playing like well Kobe and company. The Lakers are a league leading 7-0 on the season. They have not lost a game as yet. The team is working on all cylinders and those who would say just go ahead and give them the trophy now may not be too far off the mark. They are just that good. The New Orleans Hornets are also undefeated at 6-0 and definitely surprising a lot of people with their play and ability to win games against anyone. Chris Paul who made no secret of wanting out of the Hornets in the offseason, is putting up big numbers and leading his team to the top of the Western conference. Next up, the San Antonio Spurs at 4-1 with the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors at 4-2. The Portland Trailblazers are also in the mix at 5-3. The Western conference has a few more teams in the mix than the East, but the top of the standings is just what most people thought it would be.
It's very early in the season and there are many, many more games to go, but the cream of the NBA crop is already rising to the top and I think it stays pretty much this way throughout the season as parity is not a word to be used in the NBA.