NBA: Five Possible Cinderella Squads
– Here we are just a couple of weeks into the NBA season and what a surprising start it has been. The point of this article is to go through and see what five teams may be this year’s Cinderella squad. To me, a Cinderella squad is either a team that just did abysmally the year prior or a team that could eek into the playoffs and actually end up making some noise or even winning it all. Let’s hop right in.. shall we?
Last year, this team was uninspired, to say the least. The Suns finished with a 19-63 record and were ranked dead last or close to in all major metrics. This season Phoenix has come out firing, beating teams like the Los Angeles Clippers and the previously unbeaten 76ers to a record of 5-2. As of now the Suns are ranked third in the entire Western Conference and have not lost a game by more than two points. It’s clear there has been a major culture change in Phoenix under their brand new head coach Monty Williams. The Suns are playing lights out offense as well as smothering defense. This team may be a force to be reckoned with even without last year’s #1 pick Deondre Ayton for the first part of the season.
Last year the Heat went 39-43 and finished tenth in the Eastern Conference. In 2018 they were middle of the pack in close to everything except for offensive rating. The stat that really speaks out, however, was the fact they allowed the second-most points in all of the NBA. In the offseason, they landed NBA Free Agent fireball Jimmy Butler who has pumped up all of the young talent behind him. Six games into the NBA season the Heat have since tied their best start in their 32 seasons of existence. As of Monday, the Heat own the league’s top net rating which is the difference between a team’s offensive and defensive ratings which makes it a decent indicator of how a team is doing.
In 2018, the Mavericks finished the season winning 33 games but ended with a little bit of hope for the future due to their latest drafted player, Luka Doncic. As it sits right now the Mavericks are 4-3 on the season. Currently, they are ranked fifth in the Western Conference. During the offseason, they acquire star player Kristraps Porzingis. Porzingis has been a force on both ends of the floor, averaging over 20 points a game and recently blocked six shots in one game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. These two players may have what it takes to get the Dallas Mavericks into the playoffs just a season after this team being a lottery team.
Last season, the Hornets finished 39-43 and 9th in the Eastern Conference. Which was actually 19th overall in the league. Last season the Hornets had the 12th best offense in the NBA, but the 17th best defense according to basketball-reference. In the offseason, they lost both Kemba Walker and Willey Cauley-Stein but they may have a diamond in the rough in Devonte Graham. Just the other night, Graham set a team record with 35 points off the bench. The Hornets currently sit one game over .500 and fifth in the Eastern Conference. With an otherwise weak conference, the Hornets may be able to squeak into the last seeds of the playoffs and possibly beat somebody.
Minnesota last season finished as the 11th in the Western Conference with a record of 36-46. This season? They have been reported by Sports Illustrated as the 7th best team in the league by Sports Illustrated. In their first five games, they are 4-1 with wins over the red hot Miami heat and Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets. Could this be the season where Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony Towns lead Minnesota to make noise in the playoffs? They have certainly started strong, let’s see how they finish in this young NBA season.
It is still early in the NBA season. Therefore, there is a lot that could shake up or shake out for these five teams. It’s important to keep our eye as a fan of these teams. Maybe one of these five teams will show us something that hasn’t made us feel anything since the 2007 Golden State Warriors often referred to as the “we believe” Warriors.
Do you have a Cinderella NBA team? Leave a comment below.
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