There are several teams that analysts have pegged as the top contenders, such as the defending champions, LA Lakers, or the other LA team in the Clippers. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are the magic duos in the East, but even with all of these predictions, something is up. Eight days in and the standings are not fitting with expectations. Something to worry about? Is it Time for These NBA Teams to Panic?
The Eastern Conference standings for this week may appear odd, but we’ve only had a small sample size so far. Let’s split it up between the top eight and the rest.
Top 8 NBA Teams In The East
The Orlando Magic were the last remaining undefeated team this season, until the 76ers beat them today. One important factor in this record is that they have done a good job of closing out games in the fourth quarter. As mentioned in this article by Josh Cohen,
“IN ALL FOUR OF THEIR GAMES, THE MAGIC HAVE OUTSCORED THEIR OPPONENT BY AT LEAST NINE POINTS IN THE FINAL FRAME – 10 AGAINST THE MIAMI HEAT, NINE IN THE FIRST MEETING AGAINST THE WASHINGTON WIZARDS, 24 IN THE SECOND, AND NINE AGAINST THE OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER.”
Every team in the top eight right are early in the season. Teams like the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets have shown that they can be impressive, so you can expect them to settle in the top four as we get more games. But Is it Time for These NBA Teams to Panic?
Kevin Durant + Kyrie Irving
One of the biggest offseason news in 2019 was that both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving joined forces in Brooklyn. However, due to both injuries and Kyrie opting out of the bubble to focus on bringing awareness to social issues, we wouldn’t get to see these two superstars in action until the 2020-2021 NBA season.
In the four regular-season games that they played together in, Durant and Irving combined for 258 total points. They lost only one of those games, and the Nets only another loss is when both Durant and Irving did not play. The bad news for the Nets occurred a couple of days ago when we found out that Spencer Dinwiddie is out for the rest of the season.
Losing a key starter is not ideal, but the Nets have a deep roster. They could use a little TLC, and that they have. Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot has been an interesting candidate in Dinwiddie’s place, but it could change at any time. The Brooklyn Nets are a solid team and a contender.
Time To Settle
The standings are really close, and every win or loss drastically changes who is near the top. The biggest examples of this are the bottom rankings in the Eastern Conference.
Teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors look like the odd ones out here, and they will surely head up the rankings as the season goes on. There is still a lot of shuffling to go on in the Eastern Conference, and there doesn’t need to be any worry for the predicted top teams just yet.
The Western Conference doesn’t seem to be as scattered as the Eastern Conference, but there have still been some interesting developments in week one of the NBA season.
Teams That Stand Out
The Clippers have started strong with a 4-1 record, having something to prove this NBA season. Their only loss comes without Kawhi Leonard, which might present some issues further down the road. Not far behind are the Phoenix Suns, a team that looked impressive in the bubble and added Chris Paul in the offseason.
They also happen to be on a three-game win streak, with Devin Booker averaging 20.2 PPG | 4.4 RB | 4.2 AST. This young player is the one to watch and can be found on 2020-21 Week One NBA Power Ranking: Who Has Impressed? Article by fellow Overtime Heroics writer Danny Podolsky. The Suns are an interesting team, and their time will come to make a mark in the NBA.
Defending Champs In LA
The Los Angeles Lakers proved their worth last season, winning the championship for the first time since 2010, ending a long drought of a decade. On paper, the Lakers got even better in the offseason.
They added Dennis Schröder, Montrezl Harrell, and Marc Gasol. Even though they no longer have Dwight Howard or Danny Green, the Lakers extended both Anthony Davis and LeBron James. This team is stacked once again, and there is not enough belief that there is a worthy team in the Western Conference to challenge the Lakers.
Each team in the Western Conference has something to prove, and it will be interesting to see how far they will go.
In this article “Is it Time for These NBA Teams to Panic’ we delved into what the top teams are doing so far this NBA season. There will probably be another couple of weeks before the Eastern Conference’s standings, and Western Conference starts to settle down a bit.
While there are some strategies and problems to solve with certain teams, it is definitely not time to overreact. There are 72 games this season let’s be grateful for all of them.
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