Before I get started, just want to point something out you may find interesting. Jack Taylor, 5’10” guard for Division Three Grinnel College set a scoring record for College basketball of 138 points in a game. He hit 27 out of 72 three point attempts! For more on this story click here.

With the NBA season with a few weeks under its belt we can start to see some trends appearing. Now I am fully aware that things can change very quickly in the NBA; someone can go from number one draft pick to nobody at all (see Kwame Brown). However, I have decided to pick out a few surprises from the season so far in terms of players, teams and rookies. I must point out; these are by no means who I think are the best, just the ones that have jumped out to a good start. I will point out now that I am an avid Charlotte Bobcats fan, however I don’t want anyone to think that will affect my decisions.

Surprise Player – Omer Asik

This summer Asik got a big three-year, 25million USD offer from the Houston Rockets, this was in an attempt to lure him away from being a role player for the Bulls. This was evidently successful and under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement Chicago could not justify paying that much while still having Joakim Noah signed up for four-year, 44million USD. Under the new CBA, teams suffer much harsher financial penalties for every dollar they go over the Luxury Tax. Now the premise around the NBA was that Houston had overpaid and taken a risk on someone who had never topped fourteen mpg in a season.

However, this season Asik has been a revelation averaging ten points per game, more than twelve rebounds and more than one block per game. He was always thought of as one of the top defensive big men in the NBA, but he has also been getting it done on the offensive end this year something that is an unexpected bonus. Big men always get overpaid in the NBA due to the lack of bigs. We must remember that the NBA is a business at the end of the day, the less supply of bigs there are, the increase in price. I was personally sceptical of Houston signing Asik and thought that it would really effect them in a negative way from the CAP point of view but I can safely say so far this season Omar “the Animal” Asik has proved me wrong.

Runners up: Eric Bledsoe, Anderson Varejo, Kemba Walker

Surprise Team – Charlotte Bobcats

Okay, so I have picked the team I support but if anyone can tell me why I shouldn’t please do. Last year it took the Bobcats until February to get their fifth win (I am aware the season didn’t start to Christmas due to the lockout but my point still stands.) and they have already reached that same point. I mean who out there truly thought the Bobcats would be above .500, have a 5-4 record and be sitting in the sixth play off spot three weeks into the season? I didn’t for sure, I was ready for another long year of watching Byron Mullens take ten three pointers a game and watch us get blown out by the Raptors.

However, things have changed in Charlotte. First of all I can tell you after new head coach Mike Dunlap myself there has been a massive culture change. He is a hard worker, and this rubs off on the team. There have been marked improvements from players such as Kemba Walker and Byron Mullens. General Manager Rich Cho also deserves credit as he turned injury prone Corey Maggette into Ben Gordon and the Bobcats first round pick. Cho also picked up reliable centre Brendan Haywood up of the amnesty waver and the free agent signing of Ramon Sessions. This has made the Bobcats a lot deeper and tougher to beat. They have already turned heads around the NBA by beating quality teams such as the Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks and Minnesota Timberwolves (yeah they are actually going to be good this year!). Anyway, it isn’t often I get to talk about my team doing well, so I am enjoying it.

Runners Up: New York Knicks, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks

Surprise Rookie – Damian Lillard

Now some people have been saying they knew Lillard would be this good all along, but I just don’t buy it. Lillard went to a relatively unheard of school Weber State that played in a sub par conference of Division One Basketball. Lillard was taken with the sixth pick in the draft behind big names such as Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Florida star Bradley Beal. Lillard dominated summer league, a lot of scouts were very high on him and made him favourite for the Rookie Of the Year (ROY) award. I quietly had reservations that Anthony Davis would take the league by storm… looks like I was wrong again. Lillard is 22, so older than most rookies which maybe suggests why he has settled into the NBA a little quicker than say Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (19) but his averages of 19 points per game, over six assists per game and shooting .387 from three are spectacular. Lillard has settled into his role as starting point guard in Portland really well and many are already making comparisons to Chris Paul as he plays the game under a similar controlled nature. For a number six pick to be in the lead for ROY is impressive and hasn’t happened since Brandon Roy in 2006, let’s see if he can keep it up.

Runners Up: Kyle Singler, Brian Roberts, Andre Drummond

If you have any NBA questions or article requests please email me at and I will be more than happy to get back to you. Other comment below, have we missed an obvious pick perhaps? Or find us on Twitter @labelonline


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