By Dean Joannou, Staff Writer
The NBA season kicked off on Tuesday, Oct.19, and the landscape of the league might not look how many would have expected it. Teams predicted to be at the top of their conferences have struggled, while some teams have blown away expectations in the early going.
One team that has caught some fans off guard is the Golden State Warriors.
Junior broadcasting major Ryan Boettcher has very high expectations for Golden State.
“I think the Warriors have the most well-rounded team in the NBA,” he said.
Boettcher believes that the Nets likely have the most star power and that the two teams should be considered the “main championship contenders” in their respective conferences. The Warriors, who are in first place in the West ahead of the surging Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz, are now expecting star Klay Thompson to return before Christmas Day, according to The Athletic.
Other success stories have come as a surprise to fans.
“Some teams that have surprised me have been the Cavaliers with the great play from Evan Mobley, and then the Wizards with their subtraction of Westbrook for Dinwiddie and many Lakers role players,” Boettcher said.
The third pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Evan Mobley, is an early contender for rookie of the year and has been better than expected. Cleveland has had a better record than most would have predicted at the start of the year, in part due to the addition of veteran point guard Ricky Rubio.
It hasn’t all been positive. Boettcher expressed there are some teams underperforming their abilities.
“A team that has disappointed me has to be the Timberwolves. This season was really the first time their main core have been healthy together, and they have been underwhelming,” Boettcher said.
While second-year guard Anthony Edwards has raised his scoring to 23 points per game, star center Karl-Anthony Towns has not taken the next step as a leader that many Timberwolves fans would have liked to see in order to make Minnesota a serious contender.
The hometown New York Knicks face questions about their rotation, as their bench lineup is one of the most effective in the NBA while the starters have struggled to build chemistry. The bench lineup features five returning players in Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley, Alec Burks, Obi Toppin, and Taj Gibson, while the starters have struggled to incorporate new additions Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier.