Before the tip-off of the 2009-2010 NBA regular season, most talk around the league revolved around powerhouses like the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic. So it's no shock to fans around the country that these squads are off and running and leading their respective divisions so far this NBA season.
But every NBA year of course, there's always an organization or two or maybe even three that seemingly comes out of nowhere to shake things up a bit in the standings. Here are All Net's Top 5 most surprising teams at the midway point of the 2009-2010 NBA season.
5). Phoenix Suns (29-21). After missing the playoffs at 46-36 last year and trading center Shaquille O'Neal to the Cavs, not much was expected from the aging All-Star Steve Nash and his Suns. They raced out to a ridiculous 14-3 start and have struggled lately, but they're certainly a much more entertaining group to watch.
4). Charlotte Bobcats (24-23). The acquisition of disgruntled swingman Stephen Jackson has driven their success. Averaging 20 points a game, Jackson provides essential scoring and leadership to the young Bobcats, who went 12-4 in January. All-Star forward Gerald Wallace is finally getting the attention he deserves in Charlotte.
3). Oklahoma City Thunder (26-21). With 26 victories, the Thunder have already eclipsed their total number of wins last season (23). Second-year point guard Russell Westbrook and rookie James Harden have stepped up big to complement young All-Star Kevin Durant, who's averaging 29 points, 7 boards a night.
2). Utah Jazz (29-18). With other Western contenders like the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs making big-time moves in the offseason, the Jazz looked like they would be on the outside looking in this year. However, All-Star Deron Williams and his crew have won six straight and are sitting comfortably in the No. 4 spot.
1). Memphis Grizzlies (26-21). If the NBA playoffs started today, Memphis would be the 8th seed in the West. The Griz started out a dismal 1-8 but have turned things around after releasing four-time NBA scoring champ Allen Iverson. Lionel Hollins has to be the leading candidate for 2010 NBA Coach of The Year at this point of the season.