Charge it to the rule changes, a fresh batch of rookies, or the cast of early breakout stars, the NBA has been loaded with fun at every corner this season. Week 2 shone a light on several teams that should have maximized your League Pass usage. The following teams have been the most fun squads to follow, so far.
5. Memphis Grizzlies
They’re not your tito's “Grit and Grind” Memphis Grizzlies anymore. Behind a scorching start from Ja Morant, the Grizzlies have been out to prove their last-minute trip to the playoffs via the play-in tournament was no fluke. Morant has taken his game to another level to start the season, averaging 28.7 points on 52.1 percent shooting with 7.7 assists and 5.2 rebounds. You also get a good dose of Desmond Bane and De’Anthony Melton — two wings making the most of their first chance to start – as well as a rejuvenated Steven Adams lurking in the paint.
The Grizzlies only went 1-2 last week, with a massive win over then-undefeated Golden State on the road. Wins will always be a tough commodity to earn in the Western Conference but the Grizzlies will for sure look fun at all their attempts at triumph.
4. Toronto Raptors
Remember when people questioned the Raptors picking Scottie Barnes fourth in the draft? Everyone looks pretty foolish now. Barnes looks like a turbo-charged Draymond Green seven games into his NBA career, charging out on the break, and finding shots for himself and his teammates while providing lockdown defense. Barnes looks like the early favorite for Rookie of the Year as he is averaging 18.1 points on 55.1 percent shooting with 8.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists, numbers that are bound to go up as he gets a better feel for his teammates.
With Steady Freddy VanVleet and OG Anunoby also taking on bigger roles within the team, the Raptors have won their last four games and they haven’t yet looked 100 percent on both ends of the court. Nick Nurse’s squad is always worth a peek when they’re on. When Pascal Siakam returns in about two weeks, don’t be surprised if Toronto looks like a contender.
3. Charlotte Hornets
With a few off-nights from LaMelo Ball last week, the Hornets train hit a bit of a snag. Still, Charlotte showed they’re always primed for entertaining basketball, Ball’s performance withstanding.
Miles Bridges is the Most Improved Player of the Year, so far, and it’s not close. He continued on his bonkers pace last week with a 31-point, five-triple performance against Orlando then even had nine assists against Portland. For the season, he’s averaging All-Star numbers of 24.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists, and he’s doing it all while not drastically increasing his usage rate from last season.
The Hornets also have a rotating cast of role players in Coby Martin, Kelly Oubre Jr., and Ish Smith that all pull the spotlight in their own ways at one point in a game. Are the Hornets serious contenders in the East? It almost doesn’t matter when they’re always a good watch.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
You may get a few Jarrett Allen dunks, a trickle of Collin Sexton drives, or a solid Darius Garland performance when you turn on a Cavs game. But the reason to watch them is Evan Mobley, who coincidentally is also the reason why any of what Cleveland tries to do works.
Mobley is the Michael Scott to Cleveland’s The Office as he makes the mix of bland and weird around him make sense. How can Cleveland be a good defensive team while having two undersized guards and three bigs in the starting lineup? Evan Mobley is a defensive iguana. The same goes for Cleveland’s offense as their prized rookie seemingly slots into any spot on the floor they want him to operate.
Mobley's stats are nice but he’s one of those players you have to watch to fully get the scope of the Cavs’ brilliance. Almost every other play, Mobley either does something spectacular or completely unexpected for a 20-year-old rookie.
1. Golden State Warriors
It’s no secret that Stephen Curry, the two-time MVP and inarguably the greatest shooter ever, is must-watch TV. But it bears emphasis with the current batch of Warriors.
Golden State only slightly got better compared to last season, shoring up their bench with an older Andre Iguodala and a couple of veterans on minimum contracts. They’re still waiting on Klay Thompson to get back to truly rekindle some of the pre-Kevin Durant magic that made the Warriors awesome.
Still, Golden State has managed to get off to a 5-1 start. Draymond Green deserves some of the credit for conducting the Warriors’ offense and defense. But Curry has again been hard carrying his squad, averaging 5.3 3-pointers for 28.7 points per game. He’s already had games where he had six, seven, and eight 3-pointers.
It feels like anything is possible when Curry’s on the court – from breaking a Wilt Chamberlain record or single-handedly crushing his foes’ spirits.