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Three Most Surprising NBA Teams
The halfway point of the 2015-2016 NBA season has arrived, which serves as a great time to look back on the teams that have performed above and below the expectations set for them coming into the season. Among the group of teams that have outperformed their expectations are these three teams, which have been the most surprising in the NBA this season, by playing better than anyone thought they could heading into this year.
3. Detroit Pistons
For the Detroit Pistons, it wasn’t clear where they were going to end up this season, due to the offloading of all-star caliber center Greg Monroe to the Milwaukee Bucks. But Detroit has been a good team this season and has given themselves a better chance to win games by letting one of the better big men in the NBA see more minutes and more touches without as much congestion in the team’s frontcourt.
Andre Drummond has been the driving force behind the improvement of the Detroit Pistons this season, as he’s done a great job of scoring at the rim while collecting a ton of rebounds for his team. After having to share the interior with Greg Monroe early in his career, Drummond has responded very well to being given a chance to succeed on his own this year, and looks like he will be one of the better big men in the NBA for years to come.
In addition to Drummond, Reggie Jackson has been excellent for the Pistons, who look like they are more than capable of locking down a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, which will be an accomplishment that takes place ahead of schedule if they get it done this year.
2. Portland Trail Blazers
After losing star forward LaMarcus Aldridge to the San Antonio Spurs in the offseason, the Portland Trail Blazers knew that they would drop off to some extent this season. But the pieces that have remained with the team have done a great job of keeping things moving in the right direction, and the team still has a chance to qualify for the NBA playoffs thanks to a squad led by guard Damien Lillard. Portland deserves a lot of credit for overcoming the loss of their best player to keep in the hunt in a loaded Western Conference.
1. Toronto Raptors
Coming into this season, there wasn’t a clear contender to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals, but the Toronto Raptors may be stepping up to take on that challenge given just how well they’ve played this season. The combination of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan may be the best backcourt in the Eastern Conference, and the rest of the team has filled in nicely around them for a squad that could very well play themselves into the later rounds of the NBA playoffs.
It may be impossible for the Toronto Raptors to actually beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but it looks like they could very well have a chance to do so in the Eastern Conference Finals, and that’s a huge step forward for their club.
By: Jason M. Sanin