NBA's Cavaliers success keys early surprises

Dec 2, 2008 5:03 PM

Feist Facts by Jim Feist |

Preseason prognosticators and handicapping analysis focuses in on what they expect to happen, based on the draft and offseason moves. However, there are always surprises at the start of each season.

Here’s a look at some of the early NBA surprises, good, bad and ugly:

Cavaliers: We can’t call a team that went to the NBA Finals two years ago a surprise, but their new uptempo offense is a revelation. The move for 25-year old point guard Mo Williams has been an early Xmas present for LeBron James.

The Cavs had seven different players scoring in double figures in rolling up a 34-point lead against the Knicks and were an easy over winner.

Knicks: There’s still a long way to go, but there is improvement under new coach Mike D’Antoni. Their run-and-gun style leads the league in scoring at 105 points per game. Quentin Richardson scored 34 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a win over Washington last week.

The team is building around Richardson and David Lee, and just traded for Al Harrington and Tim Thomas. With all the changes, a .500 start is better than could be expected. They were also on a 6-1 run over the total.

Hawks: Atlanta struggled to win 37 games last season, then took Boston to a Game 7 in the playoffs. Everyone wondered what Atlanta team would show up this season. Overall, they’ve been good, with a young, athletic bunch, stabilized by veteran guard Mike Bibby. Atlanta has been overvalued since starting 6-0, going 2-7 ATS in its next nine games.

Blazers: This is a deep, talented young team for coach Nate McMillan. There’s probably too much focus and high expectations for Greg Oden, who is a rookie after missing all of last season. In a game against Sacramento, the real story was 29-year old center Joel Przybilla, who had 10 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks and two steals in 28 minutes. He’s shooting 82 percent on the season!

Clippers: There’s the three big men (Chris Kaman, Marcus Camby, Al Thornton) combining for 24 rebounds per game. A superstar offensive player Baron Davis (17 ppg, 8 apg) was added and the team traded for 6-10 Zach Randolph. Sounds like a team going places! As in last.