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- American basketball player
Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Vincent Goodwill takes a look at three teams who have jumped out in front this season - the Warriors, Bulls and Wizards - and if the fast starts are to be believed.
VINCE GOODWILL: The biggest surprises in the NBA start in the Bay Area with the Golden State Warriors. Who would have thought that they'd be 10 and 1 without Klay Thompson, especially coming off of not even making the playoffs last season? Steph Curry is not even averaging 30 points, but you have Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, and the league's top-ranked defense. They're shooting 3s a lot. They're sharing the ball to the tune of being second in the NBA. They're making their free throws, and Steve Kerr has found a way to maximize actually playing his veterans without his young players stepping on the floor yet.
If Klay Thompson comes back around Christmas and can hit the ground running, the Golden State Warriors can be more than just a [INAUDIBLE] story early in the season. They can be a threat in general.
One of the league's biggest surprises is something nobody saw coming because who sees the Washington Wizards ever coming along? With new coach Wes Unseld, they're one of the league's most premier defenses. And who would have thought a team with Kyle Kuzma and Bradley Beal and Montrezl Harrell would be part of a league's formidable defense team? But they are.
Beal is not leading the league in scoring. Actually, his scoring is way down from last season. But Spencer Dinwiddie and Kuzma and Harrell have picked up the slack. The Washington Wizards have never been more than a fun and cute team even when they were good. They've never been serious about winning, at least from the personnel.
This time it might be a little bit different strictly because they defend at such a high level, and don't sleep on Spencer Dinwiddie, who came over from Brooklyn, who's healthy from his ACL injury. They could be a team that could be a pesky first-round out this season and a team to be reckoned with in the future.
Another big surprise-- well maybe not here because I picked the Chicago Bulls to be the league's most surprising team-- is the sleeping giant Bulls. DeMar DeRozan still has a lot of game left in him, and Zach LaVine has turned out to be a winning player after all. Just put actual good players around him like Lonzo Ball, like Alex Caruso, like Nikola Vucevic.
The defense has been excellent, and the playmaking has been superb. You have LaVine, Caruso, DeRozan, and Ball all averaging over four assists a game, and they're killing teams in the midrange. DeRozan and LaVine are two of the premier shot creators in the league, and even though they lack size at the rim, they're still defending at a pretty high rate.
The Bulls have long been a sleeping giant because of their history and their resources, and finally with a new front office that took over well over last year, only Coby White and Zach LaVine are remaining from that roster from the Gar Forman-John Paxson regime.
Now what's left is to see if they can consistently stay above board as the schedule has gotten tougher. They play Philadelphia. They beat Dallas. They're looking like a team that's going to be legit in the playoff race.