NBA Early Surprises: Brandon Jennings and the Atlanta Hawks

Brandon RibakSenior Writer INovember 19, 2009

CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 03: Brandon Jennings #3 of the Milwaukee Bucks looks to pass against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on November 3, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Bucks 83-81.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

One thing that never gets old in the world of sports are the "I never saw this coming" kind of surprises.

Already this season we have witnessed the emergence of 10th overall draft pick Brandon Jennings, the 20-year-old punk who played in Europe after high school while it was suspected his SAT scores weren't up to snuff for NCAA play.

This is the kid who said the following about Ricky Rubio weeks before the NBA Draft:

"Yeah, I think I'm a better player than he is," said Jennings. "I just shoot the ball better than he can. The only thing I've seen him do sometimes is when he has a home-run pass or something like that. I think the dude is just all hype. I can't even front. I'm just going to be real with you guys."

This is the 6-foot-1 point guard that showed up four draft picks late to his very own NBA draft.

This kid, Brandon Jennings that is, has managed to absolutely shock the NBA world in the matter of nine games, averaging 24.8 PPG, 5.8 APG, 4.7 RPG, and 1.11 SPG, including a 55-point game performance (breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's franchise rookie record).

With such supreme production from the rook, it is reasonable that all of his offseason hijinx have magically disappeared into thin air.

And now, you can't simply go a day without hearing the words "Brandon Jennings" on ESPN.

So what will become of this exceptional athlete?

Personally, I love Jennings. Aside from having the same name as me, I think this dude is exactly where he wants to be right now, in the spotlight.

I can see him pulling some "Chad Ochocinco" tactics in the near future, but regardless of what this young'n does, as long as he can back it up with his talents, his jersey shouldn't have any problem getting bought by kids worldwide.

Another surprise from this season so far?

The Atlanta Hawks.

Who would have thought that this team would be No.1 in the NBA rankings at this point in the season?

After getting swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs last season it was obvious that Atlanta was going to enter this season with a vengeance.

With the acquiring of shooting-guard Jamal Crawford and the signing of veteran Joe Smith during the offseason, this Hawks team not only added another pure-bread shooter but also a mentor with tons of experience.

Holding a record of 10-2, the Hawks have already beaten powerhouse teams such as Portland (twice), Boston, and Denver. They rank third in the NBA in PPG (108 per game) and fourth in the league in FG percentage, shooting 48.6 percent from the field.

With 70 games remaining in the season Atlanta will ultimately make a strong capaign for placing their name amongst the Top 3 best teams in the East.

Where will Atlanta place in the East by seasons end?

If all goes well and the Hawks can remain healthy, it will be no surprise seeing Atlanta finish as the fourth seed in the East.

Can they give a team like the Cleveland Cavaliers a run for their money?


Now wouldn't that be a shock!

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