Any blog post that discusses early trends, patterns and narratives in any sport must automatically be qualified with an "it's still early, but..." warning. That's because most pronounced trends tend to revert to the mean over time, becoming less notable as the season progresses and samples sizes expand.
But even in this young NBA season, as many teams approach the 1/5th mark of their 82-game campaign, there are indications that certain trends might be more than meager short-term anomalies. Plenty still has yet to be determined in the early stages of the 2015-16 campaign, with half of the league still within two games of .500. Then again, we have a team that still hasn't lost (Golden State), a team that still hasn't won (Philadelphia) and a team that finds itself 11 games away from its division leader (the Lakers).
So what the heck, why can't we take an early look at some surprises through the first few weeks of the NBA season? Sure, some of these storylines will probably look laughable with just a little bit of hindsight. But taking stock of the NBA at this early juncture can also shed interesting light on some of the changes that the league is going through and how this season is a little different than the ones that preceded it.
15 Atlanta Hawks
14 Ish Smith
13 New York Knicks
12 Dwight Powell
11 The Warriors / Clippers Beef
10 CJ McCollum
9 Miami vs the West
8 Minnesota Timberwolves
7 Paul George
6 The Rookie Class
5 Houston Rockets
4 Andre Drummond
3 Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors
2 Kristaps Porzingis
1 New Orleans Pelicans
It didn't take the most insightful NBA observer to anticipate a big step forward for the Pelicans as engineered by their blossoming MVP candidate Anthony Davis. New head coach and offensive mastermind Alvin Gentry was expected to further unleash the Brow, using him as the foundation of a dynamic offense. Instead, their 2-11 start has produced a middling offensive attack and a league-worst 108.4 points allowed per game. That porous defense has contributed to a stunningly flat start that has included an 0-7 road record and an 0-5 mark against the East.
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