The 2022-23 NBA season is already rapidly approaching the quarter-way point.
All teams have played at least 12 games (Indiana Pacers) with some already having played in 16 (Utah Jazz).
And as is the case with every season, the results have not gone according to preseason expectations.
Which is the beauty of sports and what makes them so entertaining.
No matter how much analysis or research is done, something or someone will seemingly come out of nowhere and shake things up.
Here are two of the biggest surprises this season.
1. “Brick For Vic” Not Happening…Yet
Before the season, there was widespread concern that tanking would be a serious issue this year.
It reached a level where NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made a statement regarding the matter.
This worry was because of the top prospect set to enter next year’s draft – Victor Wembanyama.
The 7-foot-4 French star is regarded as the best prospect to enter the draft since LeBron James.
Victor Wembanyama today:
The passing, defense, shooting, mobility, athleticism, shot making it’s all so real and the 7’5 height he has is so ridiculous that he’s doing all of this.
Greatest prospect ever. pic.twitter.com/84TcfrMCVT
— Pistons Draft talk (@happypistonfan) November 14, 2022
And yet, blatant tanking has yet to occur.
The preseason favorites to fight for the worst record (Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers) have a combined record of 22-21.
Utah in particular has far exceeded preseason expectations.
After trading away their two franchise cornerstones over the offseason, they are 10-6 and were in first place in the West as recently as November 12.
There is still time for teams to (quickly) fall off the mountaintop.
But to this point, it has not happened.
2. Warriors Off To Slow Start
Perhaps the championship hangovers are starting to hit the reigning world champs a little harder as they get older.
The Golden State Warriors have not gotten off to a strong start as they look to defend their title.
And the main culprit has been their lackluster defense.
Golden State allowed the third-fewest points per game last season and had the best defensive rating in the NBA.
Those numbers have taken a nosedive this year to 27th and 24th, respectively.
Warriors this season:
0-7 on the road
14th in offense (Steph)
27th in defense
24th in net rating pic.twitter.com/UPxvpNZk1K
— StatMuse (@statmuse) November 14, 2022
A concerning trend given the core of this team largely remains the same.
That has not been the case so far.
Moses Moody is the only prospect receiving greater than 15 minutes per game.
And former second overall pick James Wiseman was just sent to the G-League.
Paired with a slow start from Klay Thompson as he looks to regain his form post-injury absence, it has not been pretty for the Warriors.