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NBA 2023/24: The Teams Doing Exactly As Expected, And Those Who Aren’t

   NBA 2023/24: The Teams Doing Exactly As Expected, And Those Who Aren’t

December 5, 2023

As we pass through December, we are around the quarter-way mark through this NBA season. It’s at this point where shaky starts need to be shrugged off and contenders start to show their true colours. Some teams will be doing exactly what we expected, whereas others may be leaving us scratching our heads. Others, still, have defied the pundits’ predictions of doom and gloom set out in the preseason.

While there will be surprise packages every season, we must admit that, so far, there has been a general pattern of the NBA season going as predicted. In fact, the majority of teams are performing almost to the level that the sportsbooks and experts predicted. There are exceptions, however. But let’s first look at some of those teams that are going well, just like we thought:

Boston Celtics

The Celtics started the season as title favourites in the NBA odds, and they retain that status today after going 14-4 across October and November. Being the favourites doesn’t guarantee a championship, of course. But there is little evidence to suggest so far that the sportsbooks got it wrong on the Celtics when laying out their preseason odds.

Denver Nuggets

The team that the majority of pundits picked alongside the Celtics, the Nuggets have been ticking along well enough. Their performances at home, where they enjoy a 9-0 record at the time of writing, have been a particular highlight. However, they will have to address the mediocre form on the road if they are to retain the NBA Championship.

Phoenix Suns

The last of our trio of big preseason favourites (although, we should mention the Bucks as well), the Suns have started to pick up nicely in recent games after a relatively shaky start. You get the sense that the team is hitting its stride now, and they will be buoyed by the recent return of star player Kevin Durant.

Teams that have defied the odds

Minnesota Timberwolves

You could get odds of 40/1 (+4000) on the Timberwolves winning the NBA Championship at the start of the season, but you’d be lucky to get half those odds today. The Timberwolves are still considered dark horses, but they are getting more respect with each passing week. They top the Western Conference right now, can they stay there?

Orlando Magic

The biggest shock of the season so far? Most pundits expected Orlando to have a losing season, but they have started in brilliant fashion and not let go. Some are expecting Orlando to cool down, eventually, perhaps as the travails of a long season begin to take hold on a relatively thin roster. But they will be in the Playoffs, and that was the aim for the season.

Teams that have disappointed

Golden State Warriors

Let’s be clear from the outset: GSW will be okay by the end of the season. At least, we expect them to turn around a sluggish start. But they were considered among the top contenders preseason, and few expected them to enter December with a losing record. The experience is there to turn the ship around. They will be in the Playoffs yet again.

Memphis Grizzlies

Few pundits had the Grizzlies tagged among the preseason favourites, but they were expected to do well, making the Playoffs. In fact, they had been projected to have over 44 wins by a lot of sportsbooks. On their current trajectory, they will struggle to reach 20. Some will point to the suspension of Ja Morant as an excuse for their struggles, but the Grizzlies have still badly underperformed.

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