1. Any conversation about the biggest surprises of the first week of the NBA 2013 season will start with how pathetic the Los Angeles Lakers have performed. The possible domination of this mega-team with the acquisitions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard has quickly been replaced by the reality of a team with streaky perimeter jump shooting and horrible transition defense. They limped out to a 1-3 record and a No. 15 ESPN Power Ranking this week, impressing no one along the way.
2. Another eye-popper is the Milwaukee Bucks, who stand atop the Eastern’s Central Conference with a 2-0 record, defeating the Boston Celtics by 10 in Boston and then the Cleveland Cavaliers. Brandon Jennings has been a real spark plug for this team and remains a difficult matchup for a lot of the team at point guard. The key to this team’s success is tempo. If they can continue to dictate the tempo of the game, look for continued success in Milwaukee.
3. The Chicago Bulls jumped out to a 3-1 record this week, showing they are still a formidable team even with Derrick Rose out while he recovers from a torn ACL. Joakim Noah has been averaging 18 points per game, 8.5 rebounds per game, and 2.5 blocks per game and Luol Deng has been going for 15.8 points, 2.8 assists, and 8.3 rebounds per game to give the Bulls balance and strength. They maintain a winning attitude and tough-nosed defensive mindset. The only question is can they maintain their offensive production? If they can they will be in the hunt, but this is still unsolidified.
4. The performance of James Harden who is averaging 35.3 points, five assists, and six rebounds per game is the most impressive individual performance of the year. Everyone knew he was going to be an impact player with the Houston Rockets, but I don’t think anyone expected this. Harden has blossomed in an offense where he is the one-option and shown both his aptitude to score in mass with his 41 point performance in his second game as a Rocket and his ability to be highly productive in his shooting — 52.9% from the field. His impact has lead the Rockets to a 2-1 first week record, including a quality win over the Atlanta Hawks.
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