Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 12/31/13
The NBA rarely ever leaves its fans with a shortage of surprises. There are 30 teams, 82 games, and so much can happen over a six-month season. Let’s take a look at my ten amazing facts in the 2013 part of the season: 10. Kyle Korver and Jose Calderon lead league in three-point percentage for second consecutive season. Kyle Korver has just surpassed 100 games with a three-pointer made.  I don’t know about you but I think that’s pretty good.  Kyle Korver isn’t a household name.  However, he’s proving to be one of the best long-range shooters in the past five to ten years. Jose Calderon has had a rock solid career.  He’s been known as a very trustworthy point guard and a great leader.  However, a lot of people seem to overlook his shot quality.  He’s not a great scorer but he manages to be one the league’s most efficient three-point shooters. Photo courtesy of sportige.com 9. Memphis Grizzlies are 0-8 against the Southwest division. The Memphis Grizzlies were cruising in the 2013 NBA Playoffs.  They finally went down as they met the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.  Some offseason changes brought some concerns about the quality of this organization.  The Grizzlies have lost all eight games against division opponents. 8. Charlotte Bobcats are the third best defensive team in the NBA. The Bobcats rank third amongst all teams in defensive efficiency.  After a couple years with a miserable winning percentage, the Bobcats have suddenly become a competitive team.  Fans and critics often question the decisions this organization has made.  However, hard work pays off for this dedicated group of players. 7. LeBron James is shooting 64 percent on two-pointers. Nobody, not Dwight Howard or DeAndre Jordan, is even close to James’ percentage.  Dwight Howard is second and he shoots about 58.5 percent on two-pointers. Is that surprising?  Not exactly.  It’s more amazing than it is surprising.  James has just become a player with powers nobody else could fathom.  He’s more successful scoring in the paint than any big guy.  King James can really play any position, point guard through center. Photo courtesy of zimbio.com 6. Isaiah Thomas, the last pick in the 2011 draft, starts for the Sacramento Kings. Isaiah Thomas was probably the only one who imagined he would be a starter in the NBA.  The Kings drafted Jimmer Fredette with the 10th pick that year.  Thomas went 50 picks later.  The Kings figured they had nothing to lose picking a quick, crafty point guard who could possibly be a good backup. Not only has Isaiah Thomas surpassed many other guards picked in that draft.  Thomas is playing exceptionally this season while averaging 19 points and six assists.  He’s not afraid to take big shots either.  Isaiah Thomas is, hands down, my Most Improved Player of 2013. 5. Michael Carter-Williams’ unexpected remarkable rookie season. I know Carter-Williams isn’t leading the Sixers to the playoffs.  That isn’t supposed to happen.  Philly is the team most noticeably in tank mode this season.  However, Carter-Williams has shocked many people with his great performances this season. Carter-Williams averages 17.8 points, 7.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.1 steals.  Somebody please tell me the last rookie to average at least 17 points, seven assists, five rebounds, and three steals.  That would be tedious research. LeBron James didn’t average that many assists or steals.  Allen Iverson didn’t average that many rebounds or steals.  Chris Paul didn’t average that many points or steals. 4. As of 2014, Toronto, Charlotte, and Boston are all playoff teams. Credit this mostly to the extreme inferiority of the Eastern Conference.  I mean, sure, these three teams have played hard and deserved every win they have gotten.  However, the Eastern Conference is an absolute wreck. Chicago lost Derrick Rose (again).  Even without Rajon Rondo, Boston currently holds the same record as the Bulls.  The Bobcats have gone from being an atrocious team to a playoff team in less than one year.  And the Toronto Raptors…well, they are leading the Atlantic division. Photo courtesy of nwsportsbeat.com 3. Portland Trail Blazers tied with second best record in the West (24-7). The Trail Blazers are one of the select few teams that have taken the NBA by surprise.  The Blazers finished 11th in the West with a 33-49 record last season.  This year, it’s a totally different story.  Four of five starters are the same.  The only different one is Robin Lopez. However, they added important backup players such as Mo Williams and Dorell Wright.  Portland leads the league in threes made per game with 10.3 and the next best team makes 0.7 less.  Terry Stotts and the Blazers have much improved defense this year as well. LaMarcus Aldridge is having a career season, averaging over 23 points and almost 11 rebounds.  The eighth-year veteran is a definite top five MVP candidate at this point of the season. 2. The New York teams are a combined 19-41. Both, the Nets and Knicks, had high stakes coming into this season.  In 2013, the Knicks had won their first playoff series since back in 2001.  It seemed like the organization was finally headed in the right direction.  Apparently not. The Knicks were 21-9 at this point last season.  This year, they are the exact opposite.  What exactly is the problem?  Well, I don’t think this team is built for success.  They had enough talent to be a great season team last year.  With a few injuries and no big roster improvements this year, the Knicks have taken a few steps backwards. What about the 10-20 Brooklyn Nets?  Mikhail Prokhorov and the front office put together an All-Star team, literally.  Between their four healthy starters, that’s 34 All-Star appearances.  Don’t let that number astonish you, though.  Pierce and Garnett account for 25 of those and both players are well past their primes. Photo courtesy of examiner.com 1. Phoenix Suns are 19-11 (sixth in the West). This fact has to be the most amazing of all.  Did you know the over-under for Phoenix in Vegas was 17 wins for the season?  We are eleven games away from the season being half over and the Suns have already passed this number. That goes to show you talent isn’t always the recipe to winning.  I sure wouldn’t have believed you if you told me the Suns would be nine games better than Brooklyn.  Heck, the Suns would be the third best team in the Eastern Conference. Why are the Suns playing so well?  Well, first off, they have excellent chemistry and well as great coaching by Jeff Hornacek.  The team fights hard every single time it steps on the court. There were doubts about the backcourt because Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe were considered too small.  Just a heads up: Eric Bledsoe can actually defend shooting guards. You know what they say about the NBA: it’s where amazing happens.   Follow @ZTennen11 on Twitter
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