NBA Teams Who Can Ignore First Month's Results in 2012-13 Season
Well, here we are: one month into the 2012-13 NBA season. Some teams are already standing out with fantastic records, while other teams have notched hardly any wins at all.
Which of these records can we take seriously, and which teams are basically entering December with a clean slate?
From the Minnesota Timberwolves playing minus six of their players to the Los Angeles Lakers playing with a brand new roster and a new coach, here are five teams that can ignore their first four weeks' results.
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The Milwaukee Bucks are off to an impressive 6-2 start, currently holding the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference.
Milwaukee's worked to build a deeper roster over the past couple seasons, and it will pay off. However, I don't think the first month's record will accurately reflect the upcoming season.
Brandon Jennings, averaging 17.5 points and eight assists per game, is no fluke—he'll continue to impress on the floor. Monta Ellis also makes an impact. The Bucks' shooting forward and center positions hold decent players, but they're inconsistent.
Some of the strong teams that Milwaukee has beaten so far (Boston, Memphis, Indiana) will only continue to improve throughout the season.
It's been years since the Bucks have been a threat in the league, and I don't think 2012-13 will make the team a serious contender in the long run.
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The Orlando Magic are off to a less-than-average 3-6 start, but fans don't need to panic just yet.
One, the Magic still need to adjust to a lineup without Dwight Howard. Losing their star center will certainly hurt the team, but it shouldn't crush them. Orlando still holds a fairly strong roster, and it will just take some time to work out all the kinks.
Two, Orlando is currently playing without some of its biggest players. JJ Redick, Hedo Turkoglu and Al Harrington have all missed games due to illness or injury. It's tough to win games without these guys, especially the latter two.
The season's just begun, and this first month won't predict Orlando's ultimate outcome.
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Houston is only 4-10 thus far, but I expect the Rockets to become more competitive as the 2012-13 season goes on.
The team is looking to center around two key players brought in during the offseason—Jeremy Lin and James Harden will both be huge assets to the roster. It will take time, however, for two players coming from larger-market teams to mesh with Houston's play style.
Add to that Harden's recent illness and Carlos Delfino's sidelining injury, and it's no surprise the Rockets haven't won more games.
It will be a different story six weeks from now.
Los Angeles Lakers
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I may not be a Los Angeles fan, but I definitely expect the Lakers to finish the 2012-13 season with a much stronger record than they've started with.
Nash's nagging leg injury has kept the point guard sidelined for a majority of the first month. When he returns to form, it will immediately improve LA's offensive game.
Besides a new lineup and Nash's injury, the Lakers are obviously dealing with the league's top coaching drama of the season.
L.A fired head coach Mike Brown only five games into the 2012-13 season, and Bernie Bickerstaff is currently serving as interim head coach. Former Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni accepted the coaching position last week, and he is slated to take the floor Tuesday night against Brooklyn.
I don't think D'Antoni will be the fix-all solution for L.A., but his strict coaching style will help the veteran-filled squad re-orientate and begin working together toward the 2013 postseason.
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Out of all the teams in the league, the Minnesota Timberwolves absolutely have a different look than they will a couple months from now.
The Wolves started the 2012-13 season without their two stars, Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. It's been less than a month since Game 1, and J.J. Barea, Nikola Pekovic and Chase Budinger are also sidelined with various injuries.
Minny's scrappy squad is staying alive, though; they are off to a 5-4 start. By the time the roster's at full strength, the Timberwolves show some great potential for winning a majority of their games.
They can enter December with a clean slate.