10 Biggest Surprises Of The NBA Season
10 Biggest Surprises Of 2013-14 NBA Season
Surprise teams pop up everywhere in sports. From the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL, to last year's Boston Red Sox in baseball, and even the Wichita State Shockers in college basketball, some teams can come out of nowhere to have a major impact on their respective sports. However, surprise teams occur most in the NBA.
Each year, different teams come out of nowhere and have great seasons, often surprising even the smartest of experts. Whether there is a sense of disrespect that surrounds the team, or a team flying under the radar all season, these types of teams are fun to watch and are slowly getting closer and closer to being contenders in the NBA.
While there are surprise NBA teams each season, there are also surprising players that help these teams exceed their preseason expectations. The Indiana Pacers certainly would not have the best record in the East without a breakout season from Lance Stephenson, and the Houston Rockets would definitely not be a top seed in the West without Chandler Parsons also having a great year.
While it is easier to make a ranking of the 10 NBA players who have been the biggest surprises this season, it is more appropriate to find the 10 most surprising teams in the NBA this season, since basketball is a team sport, after all.
Here now are the 10 biggest surprise teams this season that were not on the map at the start of the season, and are now still in the hunt for a postseason appearance, or even a shot at a championship.
10. Washington Wizards
A team that was expected to be another year away from contending, the Washington Wizards have instead stunned the Eastern Conference and have played good basketball throughout the season. With players like John Wall and Bradley Beal, this team is not to be taken lightly should they make the postseason.
9. Charlotte Bobcats
Coming off some of the worst stretches of basketball in NBA history, the Charlotte Bobcats are finally starting to establish themselves as a dangerous team this season. With free agent acquisition Al Jefferson, the Bobcats are currently the seven seed in the East and look to rise in the Eastern Conference standings.
8. Portland Trail Blazers
Given how strong the Western Conference was supposed to be this season, the Portland Trail Blazers have stayed at the top of the standings all season. With rising stars in Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge, the Blazers have proven that they are for real this season.
7. Phoenix Suns
At the beginning of the season, the Phoenix Suns were expected to be one of the main contenders for the No. 1 pick. Instead, the Suns are competing for a playoff berth. Led by guards Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe, the Suns have the pieces in place to contend, not just this season, but for years to come.
6. Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks, despite plenty of injuries, have still kept themselves in the postseason chase. After losing Al Horford for the season, players like Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap have stepped up big in order to keep the Hawks in the playoff discussion.
5. Dallas Mavericks
A team that was filled with lots of changing pieces this offseason, the Dallas Mavericks, without any true superstars, have still managed to stay in the playoff chase in the West. The Mavericks are currently eighth in the West, but with players like Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis, the Mavericks will be a tough out if they reach the postseason.
4. Chicago Bulls
Despite losing Derrick Rose to another season-ending injury and trading Luol Deng earlier this season, the Chicago Bulls are still a viable contender in the East. With coach Tom Thibedeau and MVP candidate Joakim Noah, the Bulls can give any of the top teams in the East a tough series in the postseason.
3. Boston Celtics
Despite only a 20-41 record, the Boston Celtics, another team expected to tank this season, are only seven games back of the eight seed Atlanta Hawks. With not much talent around them and Rajon Rondo being a cancer, the Celtics are still in a position to have an outside shot at the postseason.
2. Toronto Raptors
A team that was expected to finish in the bottom half of the Atlantic Division, the Toronto Raptors instead are leading this division, even with some of the major teams struggling this season. Without a true superstar, the Raptors have given themselves not just an excellent chance to reach the postseason, but to get a top seed as well.
1. Los Angeles Clippers
While it is not really a surprise that the Los Angeles Clippers are one of the top teams in the West, I am more surprised by how quickly this team has risen in the West standings. The Clippers lead the Pacific Division and are currently riding a six-game winning streak, and they will only get better as the playoffs approach.