Most Surprising NBA Teams This Season
Overachieving or underachieving, these NBA teams shocked the league with their play this season. Here’s a few groups sitting in a position most people would not have expected at the start of the year.
Charlotte Bobcats (34-37)
Michael Jordan made it perfectly clear during the offseason that he had no intent on contending for another lottery pick, and has kept to his word so far with his team playing their best basketball in 4 years.
New coach Steve Clifford has this group playing stifling defense, holding opponents to a 4th best 97.4 points per game and even has new center Al Jefferson posting the best defensive numbers in his career.
With only a few weeks left, it’s appearing the Cats are going to make the playoffs for the first time in a while. That sentence alone should make you drop your jaw.
Portland Trailblazers (45-26)
At the start of the season the Trailblazers were viewed as nothing more than a fringe playoff contender.
Then to everyone’s surprise they took the West by storm winning 17 of their first 20 games and were even leading the conference standings for a small portion of the season.
It’s unclear how far they will go in the postseason, but the strong play of guys like Damian Lilliard, LaMarcus Aldridge and even Robin Lopez are the reason this team has exceeded all expectations this year.
Phoenix Suns (42-29)
Like the Blazers, the Suns were highly underestimated at the start of the season, compared to tankers with no hope like Orlando, Philadelphia and Utah.
Fast forward to 71 games later and you no longer see the word ‘tanking’ associated with this team, now battling for 8th place in the Western Conference and 13 games over .500.
Admit it. Never in a million years did you think a starting lineup of Dragic-Bledsoe-Tucker-Frye-Plumlee would propel Phoenix to a playoff spot.
New York Knicks (29-41)
The Knicks are the only team on this list that fall into the negative category when it comes to surprise, sitting 2 1/2 games out of the eighth seed in the East and struggling to win wherever they go.
J.R. Smith has been disastrous since winning Sixth Man of the Year last season, shooting 39 percent from the floor and dropping his scoring average nearly 5 points.
With less than a month left in the season, it will be a tough task for this group to rise into playoff contention. Their hope solely lies on the Hawks’ shoulders.
Follow Evan Caulfield on Twitter @fieldhoops