Blogtable: 2015’s biggest surprise and disappointment?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


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> With one week left, what has been the biggest surprise of this NBA season? And biggest disappointment?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: No way, no how did I expect the Atlanta Hawks’ leap in the standings off of last season’s 38-44. Two of Atlanta’s big offseason moves were trading away Lou Williams and drafting Adreian Payne in the first round, so the help didn’t come from the outside. That’s development, building, bonding. My biggest disappointment: the rubble of Oklahoma City’s 2015 championship aspirations. It’s a bummer for the Thunder, the nasty West bracket is a little less head-spinning and it’s always tricky business propping open a window of contention to accommodate injuries. So often, either the time is right or it’s not, and OKC’s might be passing.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Everybody’s been waiting for the injuries to catch up with the Rockets all season, but James Harden’s MVP-level play hasn’t let them fall and could even produce the No. 2 seed in the West. We knew he was good. His play has been shockingly good. The biggest disappointment has been the long list of injured stars that have unfortunately made for more headlines off the court than on: Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Paul George, Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard, DeMar DeRozan, Jabari Parker, just to name a few. But for sheer, jaw-dropping, oh-my-God-how-did-that-happen, awfulness, I can’t neglect to mention that huge hole in the ground at 7th Ave, between 31st and 33rd Sts. in Manhattan. Nobody expect that big of a crater from the New York Knicks.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: The biggest surprise is easy: John Stockton, fresh off releasing a book, starring in insurance commercials, in costume and everything. Who is this guy? The Knicks will come back to make the playoffs on the last night of the regular season, then win the championship, and it still won’t top Stockton, who worked hard to avoid the spotlight as a player, as the king of all media. (If you’re going to insist on a surprise on the court, it’s anyone blowing away the field in the Western Conference standings. This was supposed to be a tight race, right? The Warriors have turned it into a non-race.) Biggest disappointment: Injuries. They happen every year, only this time fate ganged up on the Thunder, costing OKC the chance for a long playoff run, and on the rookies, costing everyone the chance to see three of the best newcomers for more than a portion of the season.

Shaun Powell, NBA.com: The Celtics might make the playoffs despite dumping their top two players (Jeff Green, Rajon Rondo) and watching another miss games because of injuries (Jared Sullinger). Yes, the East is so bad that somebody with a losing record was destined to make the playoffs, but still this rates as a surprise to a degree. Disappointing? Lance Stephenson bombing almost immediately in Charlotte and never recovering. I figured if nothing else, he’d be a pain off the court, not on it.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: The biggest surprise is the dominance of the Hawks and Warriors in their respective conferences. I had Atlanta eighth among East teams in my preseason Power Rankings and only two GMs picked them to win the Southeast Division. They were, by far, the East’s best team until it was time to ease off the gas pedal, beating a lot of Western Conference contenders along the way. The Warriors were projected higher than the Hawks, but I don’t think anybody saw them registering the best point differential since Steve Kerr was playing for the Bulls. The biggest disappointment is Oklahoma City suffering through a wasted season with Kevin Durant’s ongoing foot issue. The Thunder are a title contender when healthy and while they’re still in the mix for a playoff spot, their season really never got off the ground.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: The biggest and most pleasant surprise has been the Atlanta Hawks and their improbable rise from an offseason filled with uncertainty. I don’t think anyone but the most die-hard of Atlanta fans would admit to believing the Hawks would put together the sort of season they have. How they finish the story in the playoffs remains to be seen. But there is no doubt the Hawks achieved the unthinkable finishing atop the Eastern Conference regular season standings. The biggest disappointment, and I don’t think we need to belabor the point, has been the bi-coastal dumpster fires that have consumed the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks this season. I knew they’d struggle mightily. But the Lakers and Knicks have been brutal this season. Just brutal.

Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: The Hawks have been the most inspiring team: They may be benefiting from the Spurs’ system, but they’ve been running it without Hall of Fame talent, and if their devotion to teamwork could produce a championship then it would be a huge breakthrough for the NBA. The biggest disappointment has been the physical breakdown of so many players: The Rockets, Clippers, Spurs, Cavaliers, Blazers, Bulls, Thunder, Pelicans, Raptors, Wizards, Bucks, Jazz, Pacers, Heat, Hornets, Pistons, Kings, Lakers, 76ers, Timberwolves and Knicks have all been diminished by meaningful injuries this season.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: You’re baiting me, right? How can I not go with the Atlanta Hawks, the team that was pegged by many to be a playoff team, but nobody, not in their wildest dreams, expected the Hawks to have the season they’re having. As for biggest disappointment, it’s hard to overlook the team right up I-85 from the Hawks, the Charlotte Hornets. I know they’ve had injuries throughout the season, but adding Lance Stephenson seems to have just made that whole situation into a mess.

14 Comments

  1. were barely hanging on to a playoff spot*

  2. My biggest surprise: The season that the Hawks have had.

    My biggest disappointment: The Thunder, who are barely hanging on to a playoff spot, and I had them play against the Cavs in the Finals, who could make it.

  3. micromoi says:

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  4. dustydreamnz says:

    The Knicks and Lakers had terrible rosters this year though, hasn’t surprised me. The Knicks will rebuild faster in my opinion.

  5. Chris says:

    My biggest surprise are the Hawks and the Warriors. I figure both teams to be playoff regulars, but never expected either of them to be at the top of the conference.

    Biggest disappointment is the Thunder’s big possibility that they might miss the playoff.

    Another surprise is Lamarcus Alridge still playing. I like him, but I thought that he might try to play a few games after he hurt his hand and shut it down. Or shut it down after he aggravated it again about 2 weeks ago. But he’s back and still balling.

  6. Amused says:

    Biggest surprise has been Kevin Love acting like he is not content being with the Cavaliers..
    Biggest disappointment has been Kevin Love acting like he is not content being with the Cavaliers.

  7. Sim Bhullar says:

    Biggest surprise should have been the heat

  8. Nate says:

    Biggest surprise was a gimme: Atlanta. They’re playing team basketball, and I really hope Korver hits the 50-50-90 mark he’s been flirting with all season.

    Biggest disappointment: The Raptors. After the Rudy Gay trade, the Raptors soared and had one of the best records in the league. With a hard-fought first-round playoff defeat to the Nets, we were all expecting them to come back strong in 2014-15. Unfortunately, everything turned upside down. Top 10 defense became bottom 10, and our bright-futured prospects in Ross and Valanciunas are not performing to their expected levels. With DeRozan getting injured, Lowry stepped up in a big way and earned his All-Star starting spot, but now he, too, has gone down. With so little time remaining before the playoffs, I’m just hoping Lowry can get back to full-health and reclaim his synergy with the rest of the team.

  9. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    Other then Paul George making a big debut the other day,Biggest surprise was the Bucks, J Kidd has had the Bucks in the playoff picture all year, biggest disappointment Carmelo, the off season had this guy on a tour of were he would sign, and had just a horrible year with the injury’s.

  10. harriethehawk says:

    My biggest surprise is how low the Fakers and New York Knickerbonkers have sunk. My biggest disappointment is not so much a disappointment as a sadness for the OKC, Kevin Durant, and all of their injury issues. I really wanted Kevin Durant and OKC to top off his MVP award with a championship title. Too bad, so sad.

  11. dustydreamnz says:

    I’ve got the Hawks to win the title at 81 and I’m a Spurs supporter so they haven’t surprised me greatly, obviously they weren’t my top pick but they were unlucky with injuries last season and the core stuck together which I like.
    Biggest surprise for me would be the Warriors being that far in front of the powerful Western Conference.
    Biggest disappointment would be the injuries, unless something is done about the schedule, this is going to continue. I think pretty much everyone knows that it needs to change which will benefit players, coaches, fans etc.

  12. Will says:

    Sekou did you mean John Stockton or really Steve kerr

    • Charli says:

      No, he was saying that the fact John Stockton became much more open to the media this year is his biggest surprise, since Stockton avoided the media in his playing days.