Midseason surprises illustrate the unpredictable fun of team chemistry
The magic formula that makes a team gel is a secret that very few teams possess, and those who have found the secret often experience great success. Take the rock-solid management of the San Antonio Spurs franchise for instance, or the more recent championships from the pass-happy Golden State Warriors. As the season heads towards its conclusion, the differing fortunes of an early season favorite and an unexpected dark horse exemplify this point as they unexpectedly amassed almost-equivalent win-loss records.
Indiana Pacers: The Pacers show that the whole can be more than the sum of its parts, as they dealt admirably with the trade of former franchise player Paul George. Victor Oladipo turned himself into an All-Star, while frontcourt youngsters Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis have performed so well that Al Jefferson has been relegated to a bench role. In addition, the always-reliable Darren Collison has been having a career year at the backup point guard spot while the creative and wild Lance Stephenson has been a largely-dependable facilitator for the team.
Oklahoma Thunder: The Thunder was the supposed beneficiary of the Paul George trade, and added Carmelo Anthony to the squad as well. Along with reigning League MVP Russell Westbrook and the emerging Steven Adams, they were supposed to form the newest ‘superteam’ of the NBA. Instead, they have experienced difficulties in clicking together on-court. Beyond the big names, their struggles highlight the understated importance of defensive specialist Andre Roberson, whose absence has dropped the Thunder’s defense to the level of a cellar-dweller.
Honorable mentions: The Boston Celtics have thrived despite the departure of last season’s breakout star Isaiah Thomas and the time that Gordon Hayward has missed, while the Houston Rockets have shown how to fit superstars together after the addition of Chris Paul.
Article written by Wong Chin Yi
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the NBA.