The NBA Western Conference has always been a photo finish every season.
Only a few games separate the playoff hopefuls, and one loss could put a team out of the race.
Of the 15 teams in the conference, these three have the most shocking starts to their 2021-22 NBA campaign.
They hope to build good momentum coming into the All-Star Break.
3. Sacramento Kings
They may have a losing record so far at 5-6, but they have an opportunity to become a fringe playoff team.
The Sacramento Kings already have victories over the Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, and Charlotte Hornets.
Their young nucleus continues to improve, starting with Harrison Barnes, who contributes 22.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game.
HARRISON BARNES IN HIS 10TH SEASON🔥
23.3 PTS (Career-high)
9.5 REB (Career-high)
3.3 3PT (Career-high)
47.3% 3PT (Career-high)
49.6% FG (2nd highest Career)
86.1% FT (2nd highest Career)
0.9 STL (Career-high)@hbarnes | @SacramentoKings pic.twitter.com/9MboIi8UhH
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) November 4, 2021
The Kings rank sixth in points per game (110.4) and eighth in free throw percentage (79.4).
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Surprising isn’t always for the better, and that’s where the Los Angeles Lakers are after 11 games.
LeBron James might miss several games due to an abdominal strain, and they look different when he’s not playing.
Their defense isn’t solid, while Westbrook isn’t sure of his role on offense.
Game salary: 539K
In a game with no LeBron and an early AD exit, Westbrook gave the Lakers NOTHING. pic.twitter.com/SRLFmtrpfJ
— Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13) November 7, 2021
He would have explosive nights and poor performances in a span of a few days.
Likewise, they’re having a hard time compensating for James’ nearly 25 points per game.
Furthermore, their offense is starter-centric, and they have a hard time getting consistent production from their bench.
A team of their caliber must have a better start than 6-5 because it’s challenging to lag in the Western Conference.
Interesting. The Los Angeles Lakers are 16.2 points per 100 possessions worse with Russell Westbrook on the floor.
— Joe Viray (@JoeVirayNBA) November 10, 2021
They’ve had impressive victories against the Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, and the Cleveland Cavaliers as a consolation.
But Frank Vogel’s crew also lost twice to the Oklahoma City Thunder despite having huge leads early in those games.
A start like this is quite alarming for a team with realistic championship hopes.
1. Golden State Warriors
Yes, they’ve been a good team for the better part of the last 10 seasons.
But are they this good?
The Golden State Warriors lead the league in points per game at 115.2 and rank second in points allowed at 101.5.
That 14-point differential helped them establish a 9-1 start, with their only loss coming at the hands of the Grizzlies in overtime.
you gotta love dubs basketball pic.twitter.com/viUit8gS1B
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 9, 2021
Golden State is also third in field goal percentage (47.2) and first in three-point percentage (38).
Steve Kerr’s squad is also third-best in rebounds (47.8) and steals (10.1).
They also lead the NBA in assists per game at 30.3.
On the other hand, they allow opponents to convert only 42.1 percent of their field goals and 30.6 percent of their three-pointers (both second-best).
WHAT A NIGHT FOR STEPH 🤯
— Overtime (@overtime) November 9, 2021
They’ve defeated the two Los Angeles teams, the Hornets, and the Atlanta Hawks, to attain the NBA’s best record early in the 2021-22 season.
If they’re already sensational, how great can they be once Klay Thompson returns?