In today’s top NBA story, LeBron James finished with an impressive triple-double against the Washington Wizards–the team with the worst NBA record. How did this happen? Is it safe to say that the Miami Heat forward needs to do more in order to give his team a win? The Los Angeles Lakers are underperforming so far, even after hiring Mike D’Antoni. How come the Charlotte Bobcats are in the thick of playoff discussions? During the start of the season, no one expected the New York Knicks and the Memphis Grizzlies to eventually lead their respective conferences.
These are all issues and questions that boggle the minds of casual NBA fans, and it’s quite frustrating and surprising to see your team underperform or lose to supposedly weaker opponents. A team’s performance is measured by how many wins they’ve racked up so far, but is that really enough? How big of a sample size is needed in order to properly gauge whether a team is legit? If you remember last year, the Boston Celtics did an amazing run after the All-Star break and were one win away from a finals appearance. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did the same this year.
One of the factors that can affect a single game’s performance is fatigue. We’ve seen it happen when teams end up with back-to-back schedules on their calendar. But the truth is, we never really know how tired players are. I don’t think coaches are keen on letting the media know how exhausted their team is. Greg Popovich is an obvious exception.
Another element that falls under our radar is the relationship between coaches and players. Each team member has his own quirks and unique attitude. Successful coaches manage to blend in these personalities into teams that are easier to control. We can only speculate and put out seemingly educated guesses as to how healthy team relationships are.
Finally, we’re not completely aware of what’s happening on the court during games. We only get tidbits and suggestions from announcers and twitter posts. Until the time comes that we can hear every word blurted out by players and coaches, we’re always in the dark as to how the game is truly panning out.
It may seem sad and disheartening to know that we don’t know enough, but that’s actually the beauty of the NBA. Every game is unpredictable. We just witnessed the weakest team beat the defending champions.
I don’t know about you, but I’m quite ready for more surprises to come.
Image credit: Bleacher Report