The Detroit Pistons have not gotten off to a good start even though there have been some things to be excited about.
Cade Cunningham has looked every bit the star the Pistons need him to be at times, but has also struggled with turnovers and efficiency (story of his career so far) under a heavy workload and more minutes than any player in the NBA.
Ausar Thompson is playing like he belongs on the All-Defensive team and is currently 2nd in the NBA in total rebounds. Marcus Sasser looks like a steal and Killian Hayes has made some of the progress we were hoping for on the offensive end.
But the story for the season so far has been injuries, as Detroit is running a very young rotation with most of their key veterans on the bench in street clothes.
It’s been disappointing on several fronts, but also frustrating considering the Pistons have not even been close to having a full roster. But the Detroit Pistons aren’t the only disappointing team, and there are others who are early surprises through the first 13 percent of the season.
Surprises in the NBA so far
Philadelphia 76ers (8-1)
It’s not surprising that the 76ers are good, but I’m not sure many would have predicted an 8-1 start after they traded James Harden. It turns out that in Harden trades, the team showing him the door is usually the winner. Philly is getting MVP-level play from Joel Embiid again (32.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists per game) but the big story has been Tyrese Maxey, who has taken a star turn, averaging 28.6 points, 7.2 assists and 5.4 rebounds on 50/43/93 shooting splits. Those are All-NBA numbers and making Philly forget all about the Harden saga that bogged them down for the entire offseason. They now have extra draft picks and future cap space, so Philly is a dangerous team now and into the future.
Indiana Pacers (6-4)
The Pacers’ start isn’t totally surprising, in fact, I picked them as one of my sleeper teams this season. Indiana currently has seven players averaging double figures, including Tyrese Haliburton, who is averaging 23.8 points and leading the NBA in assists at 12.2 per game. The Pacers are a balanced team with guys who can shoot the 3-ball, part of the reason Haliburton is racking up so many assists. Former Piston Bruce Brown has been everything they hoped he would be and Turner, Nesmith and Hield have shot the lights out.