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  • Matt Skilton

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Three Words To Describe How Every NBA team is Performing This Season

The 2021-22 NBA season is rapidly reaching the quarter mark, so what better way to gauge each team's performance so far than giving each team three words on how their campaigns have started?

Eastern Conference

Atlanta Hawks – Let’s Stay Home

After their amazing playoff run last season, the Hawks are struggling, they have one win on the road despite the efforts of their franchise superstar Trae Young who’s averaging 24 points and 9 assists a game. They were better as a lower seed last season so maybe it’ll just be a blessing in disguise.

Boston Celtics – Not Assisting You

When your assist leader is averaging 5 a game you’re going to struggle, they lost a ball carrier and facilitator in Kemba Walker in the past off-season and haven’t replaced him, if something doesn’t change soon, the Celtics could be on for a season at .500 again.

Brooklyn Nets – Who’s Kyrie Again?

There was a thought the Nets would struggle without Kyrie, but Kevin Durant and James Harden have stood tall. Durant leads the league in scoring and his squad in rebounds, while his duo averages 8.8 assists per game, oh and they’re also sitting pretty at the 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, so remind us who Kyrie is again?

Charlotte Hornets – Sting Coming Soon

Once again, the Hornets sit around that mid-conference seeding mark, they’re 2nd in points per game, 4th in assists and in the top 10 for rebounds but sit just above .500, something is brewing and when it’s figured out, they’ll be scary.

Chicago Bulls – DeMar They Contenders?

Just when everyone thought DeMar Derozan’s peak had passed, he leaves Texas for the Mid-West and thrives, surrounded by stars like Zach Lavine, Lonzo Ball who pass the rock and Nikola Vucevic who crashes the boards, they’ve proven they know how to play winning basketball, even if their season rankings aren’t anything special.

Cleveland Cavaliers – Is It Time?

It’s no secret the Cavs have struggled in the post-Lebron era, but early on things are seemingly adequate. Defensively this squad knows what they’re doing, ranking in the top 3, however, the offence is another story, they’re struggling to put the ball in the basketball no matter where they shoot from, but who needs offence... right?

Detroit Pistons – Reverse or Drive?

No one expected much from the team that had the worst record last year, they’re slowly crawling forward, Cade Cunningham needs time to adapt to the NBA just like any rookie, there’s not much else to say other than get some more picks and keep building.

Indiana Pacers – Have a Receipt!

While Indy sits in 13th in almost a no man's land between the playoff contenders and the worst of the Eastern conference, Paul George is having a career year out West, could they somehow get a refund? Even if he went to LA from another team?

Miami Heat – We’re Heating Up

A team that in the past couple of seasons has gone from the Finals to being obliterated in the first round, has once again proven why they’re a superb team. Combining Jimmy Butler, who’s having what some are calling an MVP season, with a natural leader in Kyle Lowry was a masterstroke by the front office and it’s possible that 4th seed could improve over the season.

Milwaukee Bucks – Do it all

We’re going to ignore the Bucks’ record and seeding at the moment since they’ve had injuries and can now get the ball rolling. However, what we can’t ignore is the fact Giannis Antetokounmpo is leading the team in points, assists and rebounds again, maybe things will change but for now, he’s been an absolute monster once again.

New York Knicks – Back to reality?

They’re the 7th seed in the East, Julius Randle leading the way, like others passing is a problem, but at this stage in their progress, I think they’re performing how they should be. They need to find a way to rely less on Randle and more on others to move the rock if they want to improve though.

Orlando Magic – Orland-No Magic

The Magic have some good pieces that need development, some veteran presence could be helpful but the future is looking bright in Florida, even if they’re continuing to struggle at the moment.

Philadelphia 76ers – Somethings Ben Missing

The Sixers are okay, they’re missing their main facilitator in Ben Simmons, which explains why their assist numbers are so low, which I guess has a knock-on effect to Joel Embiid who’s averaging 21 points per game. The shocker here is they’re struggling to crash the boards, as in, they’re the worst rebounding team in the league even with Andre Drummond.

Toronto Raptors – What’s Going On?

The Raptors just like last season, are caught in no-mans land, it was understandable they didn’t trade Kyle Lowry last season, but they seem to be too bad to make the Playoffs and too good to obtain a top 3 pick, so maybe they’re just waiting for some of the younger talents to come through, only time will tell.

Washington Wizards – Bringing the Shazam

Let’s paint a picture, last season you have Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal, the duo struggles, and you decide to trade Westbrook for a bunch of young guys from the Lakers. Would you expect to be the 3rd seed in the East? I don’t think many would. Yes, the majority of the offence is still left up to Beal, but they’re ranked 5th in defence and are able to crash the boards ranking 11th in the league, which is a good foundation to build on.

Western Conference:

Dallas Mavericks – Tops a-long way

Don’t get me wrong, the Mavs are a good team, but they aren’t great, they beat Utah and Phoenix in their opening two games but since then have struggled against the top contenders, which doesn’t put them in good stead when the Playoffs come around.

Denver Nuggets – Miss you Murray

They have the reigning MVP, they’ve been contenders for the past few years and they’re performing soundly at home, but the absence of their floor general Jamal Murray is taking a toll on the road with their record being a measly 2-5.

Golden State Warriors – Chefs been cooking

After a heartbreaking loss in the play-in tournament, last season the Warriors are on fire, more specifically Steph Curry is on fire, doing things we saw him do back in his 2016 MVP season and what makes it more impressive is they’re the top seed in the Western Conference without their other star Klay Thompson.

Houston Rockets – No Launch Today

In other words, Houston we have a problem. We all know the Rockets were going to be bad, they blew it up last season and seemingly blew it up again in the offseason, there’s going to be more years of pain too as they watch OKC utilise the picks they got in the Westbrook trade a couple of years ago.

Los Angeles Clippers – You’re getting Clipped

Paul George is torching oppositions with 26 points per game, but without Kawhi Leonard, the offence was going to be on the slower side, however, the defence the Clippers have built a foundation on over the past few seasons is still there and when Kawhi is back this team will be dangerous.

Los Angeles Lakers – Lakers of Old

I know what you’re thinking, it’s a jab at them being the oldest in the league, but it isn’t. I mean old Laker squads, more specifically, 2012-13 Lakers, you know the super team that was supposed to destroy the Miami Heat. Coming into the season this team was either going to be unstoppable or implode and with them sitting with 9 wins and 9 losses, we might be getting close to the answer.

Memphis Grizzlies – Ja almost unstoppable

Memphis is pretty good, Ja Morant is seemingly happy to put the offence on his back night in and night out and it’s working, but they’re in the bottom third of the league for defence which is holding them back.

Minnesota Timberwolves – A Little Better

The Timberwolves are a little better, this year they’re not contending for a top 3 pick again, they’re fighting for a play-in spot, but even that’s way below what this team should be capable of.

New Orleans Pelicans – What Happened Here?

Last year we saw an outstanding group of youngsters developing and putting the league on notice for future years, but now it’s back to reality for the Pelicans, and sure they might be better when Zion is back, but that then asks the question; “how long until he’s out again?”

Oklahoma City Thunder – Future is bright

OKC has got one of the most promising duos after they picked up Josh Giddey in the draft this year. Giddey leads the team in rebounds and assists, while his duo Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leads the team in points, oh and did I mention they have a massive haul of picks from the Clippers and Rockets?

Phoenix Suns – Sun is Shining

There’s not much to say about the Suns that’s bad as they rank in the top 10 in points, assists, rebounds and defence. They started slowly losing their first two games but since then have won 12 straight and might just be the best team in the league right now.

Portland Trail Blazers – No More Dame-Time?

Yes, the Blazers are 6th in points per game, but that can come down to the sheer number of shots they put up. They can be better and I’m sure they’ll improve throughout the season, once Damian Lillard figures out his shooting woes.

Sacramento Kings – Who Got Next?

A fantastic young core, but they fly through coaches like Lebron flies through teammates. With Luke Walton being fired, I feel like the Kings and these young stars just need a little bit of stability, rather than looking for instant success.

San Antonio Spurs – Still Not Rebuilding?

The Spurs are almost like the New England Patriots, they don’t want to rebuild, they want to reload, but it’s obvious that it’s just delayed the inevitable. Come on, it doesn’t take that long… Unless you’re Minnesota.

Utah Jazz – That Sweet Sound

The top seed in the West last season, yes, they had a slow start like Phoenix, but they’re on the way up now, with an 11-5 record and the 3rd seed. This year they’ve got Playoff experience and they’ll be very good come to the end of the season.

Matt Skilton is a multimedia sports journalism graduate and covers all of your NBA needs at Keep watching for recaps, analysis, trade news and more!

Follow Matt on Twitter @MSkilton16

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