A quarter of the season has passed and it’s an apt time to assess what’s going on in the NBA. To kick things off, a lot of teams are playing out of their skin. A whole lot of other teams are failing everybody’s expectations. We got teams like the Cavaliers who despite a slow start are right back on track. On the flip side, we have Orlando Magic who raced to the top only to drop down to lottery later. There’s a lot of juggling going on in the eastern conference.
Eastern Conference: The High-Flyers
#3 Philadelphia 76ers
The most exciting team in the NBA is set to become the most promising team in the league. The future doesn’t get any brighter for a team rebuilding for the past half decade. Their franchise face Joel Embiid hasn’t missed many games so far. Rookie Ben Simmons is looking like a seasoned player already. The Sixers are currently 5th in the eastern conference with a 12-9 record. Playoff hopes are no more just a possibility, it’s the least everyone expects from them.
The young soon to be All-Star duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons is wreaking chaos on the court. Embiid is averaging 22 points and 11 rebounds while Simmons is filling up the statsheet with his 18 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists per game averages. Embiid has just missed 3 games so far which is ridiculous when just a few weeks ago, he was set to miss half the regular season (reportedly).
They are the perfect team for the modern NBA. With demigods, veteran presence and an organisation backing the team every step of the way, not much can go wrong in the future. Get on the Sixers bandwagon while it’s still early.
#2 Detroit Pistons
From not making the playoffs last season to the top of the eastern conference standings, the Detroit Pistons have come a long way. Their 14-6 record is ranked 2nd in the east and looks like the playoff picture in the east will most likely change this year.
Detroit is a changed team this year, top to bottom. Their defensive intensity seems to have picked up upon the arrival of Avery Bradley. They are allowing just 102 points per game which is seventh in the league. They are top ten in both, offensive rating and defensive rating. Most of all, they are playing like a unit. Their star big man Andre Drummond is averaging career highs in rebounds and assists while shooting free throws at a much improved rate of 63 percent. Reggie Jackson, Avery Bradley and Tobias Harris are all double-digit scorers. Their second unit is being led by Ish Smith who is good enough to start for most teams in the league.
So far, so good. It would be interesting to see how far the Pistons go. It’s pretty common for teams to lose their juice midway through the season.
#1 Boston Celtics
It’s a common saying in basketball, “defence wins games.” Boston Celtics have put life in these 3 words. Their number 1 defence has propelled their number 12 offence so far. It is what facilitated their 16 game winning streak that landed them atop the eastern conference standings. So far, they have blown out every single they’ve played against.
Everyone pretty much knew the Cs were gonna be good. We just didn’t know how much and we certainly didn’t know a thing once Gordon Hayward was sidelined for the season. The elite defence they are playing has really come as a surprise for everyone. They don’t have any one player controlling the defence, they are all going to work. They have seven players averaging more than 9 points and five with double-digit scoring averages. Due to their bench depth, they can play a lot of lineups and they have, without breaking a sweat.
If any team can put some life back into the eastern conference, it is the Celtics. The way they’re playing this season, it’s no fluke. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are playing like big time players They’re not afraid of the lights. We already know what Al Horford and Kyrie Irving bring to the table. They’re scary good right now.
And now moving on to the busts…