Surprises in the NBA so far
Minnesota Timberwolves (7-2)
Last year was mostly people talking about how the Timberwolves got fleeced in the Rudy Gobert trade. Gobert is once again playing like the best defensive player in the league and the fit with Karl-Anthony Towns now looks sustainable. Jaden McDaniels (the guy I really wanted for the Pistons) is also protecting the rim while shooting over 43 percent from long range. But they are being led by Anthony Edwards, who is averaging 28.4 points, 6.2 rebounds 5.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Minnesota stuck with their team and went in big on the extension for McDaniels and it is paying off so far, as they are currently the 3-seed and playing like a contender in the Western Conference.
Houston Rockets (6-3)
The Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons entered this past offseason in pretty much the exact same place, but Houston went big in free agency and Detroit didn’t. We can debate the long-term effects of signing Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks, but it’s worked in the short-term for the Rockets, who have won six in a row and have a little vibe around them right now. That could certainly change, as they have a lot of strong personalities on that team, so come see me when things start going badly. VanVleet and Brooks have been huge for the Rockets so far and Jalen Green has been efficient from long range, but the biggest surprise has to be Alperen Sengun who is playing like an All-Star, averaging 19.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, six assists and a steal per game while shooting 60 percent from the floor and creating matchup problems all over the place. I am certainly not saying the Detroit Pistons should have gone after VanVleet and Brooks, but you have to wonder if they could be in the same spot if they had signed more impactful veterans than Joe Harris with that $20 million, even with all of the injuries.