It is still very early in the NBA season but that doesn’t mean we can’t point out who’s playing well so far. Here at Sportsnonsense, we decided to do a rundown of one player on each team who’s impressed so far (we tried to avoid obvious choices such as Lebron). Who knows, by the end of the year everyone on this list might be terrible, so lets give them their due now. We have broken it down into two parts, so we’ll start with the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference will come out later this week.
Atlanta Hawks: Paul Millsap has been great so far for Atlanta, shooting a ridiculous 57% from the field. He and Al Horford have teamed up to make Atlanta a better team than many thought coming into the season.
Boston Celtics: Jared Sullinger is quietly having a nice stretch to start the year, giving the Celtics 10.8ppg and 5.2rbg in just 18 minutes per game. Hopefully he can stay healthy.
Brooklyn Nets: Even with all the huge names on this team, Brook Lopez has been their best player. He’s averaging 20ppg to go with 2.3 blocks per game.
Charlotte Bobcats: Bismack Biyombo is playing a lot of minutes for the Bobcats, 27 per game, and he’s being productive. He rarely shoots but he’s hauling in 8rpg and blocking shots. Remember, this guy is still just 21 years old.
Chicago Bulls: It’s been rough so far in Chicago, but Carlos Boozer (yes, Carlos Boozer) has been a stabilizing force, shooting close to 60%.
Cleveland Cavaliers: CJ Miles has carved out a spot as a reliable perimeter shooter for the Cavs, shooting 40% from beyond the arc. He’s able to play off the ball while Irving/Waiters/Jack create.
Detroit Pistons: Greg Monroe is the real deal. He has improved every year in the league and is averaging 18ppg and 10rpg this season. He’s also getting to the line more and shooting 78% there.
Indiana Pacers: Indiana has been the best team in the league this year and we had a number of choices here. Paul George has been outstanding but we’ll go with Lance Stephenson who has been a great sidekick. He’s averaging 14ppg/5rpg/5apg and is shooting 50% from deep.
Miami Heat: Chris Bosh doesn’t just troll during postgame interviews; he’s also a pretty good basketball player. He’s averaging 18.5ppg on just 11 attempts per game. Miami may need him to take over as the second option as the season goes on. He looks ready for the challenge.
Milwaukee Bucks: After injuries to both Brandon Knight and Luke Ridnour, Nate Wolters was thrust into the starting lineup and played well. The shooting numbers aren’t great, but he has been great setting up teammates and is averaging only one turnover per game. Not bad for a second round pick. (I would have easily picked John Henson here if they would just GIVE HIM MORE MINUTES! HE’S GOOD!)
Orlando Magic: Nikola Vucevic has been a monster early on. He’s fourth in the league in rebounding and has been bullying people in the paint to shoot 53%.
Philadelphia 76ers: There have been a lot of early surprises on this team, but I’ll go with the rookie Michael Carter-Williams (aka “three names… more skills”, aka “MCW”, aka “McDub”). He’s averaging 18ppg/6rpg/8apg and he’s been hounding guys on defense to the tune of 2.6 steals per game.
Toronto Raptors: Amir Johnson is playing great so far, pulling down close to 8 boards a game while shooting 60%. He could draw a lot of trade interest if the Raptors decide to rebuild the roster.
Washington Wizards: The Wizards have been disappointing for the most part outside of Bradley Beal. After struggling from deep last season, he’s showing he’s still the sharp shooter we saw in college, as he’s knocking down 47% of his threes this year while attempting seven a game.
Please comment below with any players you think deserve to be mentioned as surprise players.