There have been a few early surprises this 2006-07 NBA season. I ask you, did anyone expect...
1. Grant Hill to be this good again?
Yes, Grant Hill drinks Sprite. He's back to his entertaining best so far this season. He leads the Magic with 16.3ppg and 1.3spg, whilst also contributing 3.2rpg, 2.1apg and shooting at 55% from the field. What's better is he has played 9 of the Magic's 10 games so far. Keep it up Grant -- we missed you.
2. Utah to be leading the league?
Tonight the Jazz could become the first team this season to get 10 wins. They are currently 9-1. Yes, this is the same Salt Lake City team featuring a second year point guard in Deron Williams, an injured starting SG in Gordon Giricek, an injured star player in Andrei Kirilenko and being led by the exploits of the erstwhile disappointing Dukie, Carlos Boozer. Boozer has been nothing short of jaw-dropping with his 20.5ppg, 13.0rpg and 3.7apg whilst shooting 55.5 FG%. Who needs John and Karl anyway?
3. Chris Webber to be sitting?
Not him apparently. After recently scoring 6 points in 23 minutes against the Sonics, Webber said, "I'm not going to keep playing like this... I don't like this role. So you can take that however you want." I think we know how to take that, C-Webb. Webber is only averaging 10.3ppg on the season and is only being given just over 30 minutes per game by coach Maurice Cheeks.
4. LaMarcus Aldridge to be starting?
Aldridge came into this season injured and in a very tight position in the Portland Trail Blazers frontcourt having to fight for minutes behind Joel Przybilla, Zach Randolph, Raef LaFrentz and Jamaal Magloire. Well, Przybilla and LaFrentz have been injured and Magloire has been just plain disappointing, thus meaning not long after Aldridge's return he has seen a starting C position as his. He has been proving deserving so far with his initial rookie minutes proving very promising and worthy of his selection so high in the draft.
5. Gerald Wallace to be this ordinary?
After a stellar 2005-06 NBA season for the Bobcats, which saw many Fantasy league owners wringing their hands with glee, Wallace has come into this season well below his previous averages -- especially on the defensive end. His 1.6spg (05-06: 2.5spg) and 0.6bpg (05-06: 2.1bpg) have been disappointing, as have his 5.4 ppg drop in scoring and 3.3rpg decrease. Gerald has provided the excuse of hitting his head during the season opener -- us FNBA owners hope he will be back to full form very soon.
6. Kevin Martin to be such a star?
Martin was given major minutes last season due to a Bonzi Wells injury. He took that opportunity with both hands and has now proven himself a regular NBA star. Martin is averaging 23.7ppg, 5.1rpg, 2.2apg, 1.9spg, 1.8 treys per game and impeccable shooting percentages across the board. Sacramento have got themselves a keeper at the two guard.
7. Chicago to be so bad?
The addition of Ben Wallace was meant to make Chicago title-town again. However the joke going around at the moment is that they are changing the name of the city to C-H-I-C-A-G. There's no "O" in the windy city. The Bulls are averaging 93.7ppg -- good for 5th last in the league this season (sadly the Blazers are one spot behind them). The Bulls are 3-7 to date this season. Big Ben has not been as advertised so far this season -- his averages of 5.5ppg, 9.7rpg and 1.6bpg are all his lowest since 1999-00 with Orlando (the year before he broke out as the freak we knew and feared in Detroit). It's not all doom and gloom in Chi-Town however. Opponents of the Bulls are scoring 0.1ppg less than them and are only marginally better in rebounds and assists. Maybe it's just that da Bulls have been unlucky so far. They've played San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Indiana, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Miami and Sacramento in 8 of those 10, none of them easy-beats. Things should improve with the lineup the Bulls have.