Since Emory cable doesn’t have NBA League Pass, and ESPN and TNT tend to show the same eight to 10 teams on their nationally televised games, there are teams that go unwatched.
All of these teams will play on national television during the season occasionally and you will not regret checking them out.
5. Sacramento Kings
Nathan Janick: The Kings made this list for one reason: BOOGIE! DeMarcus Cousins, also known as Boogie, is one of the most polarizing players in the league. His talent is undeniable. He is 6’11”, can handle the ball and is a monster on the boards. However, his personality raises questions. I got to see him play in person last year when the Kings played the Hawks, and I have never seen a player give more death glares to the refs, coaches and teammates.
Jacob Durst: Boogie is finally playing like we all knew he could. Check out this stat line he put up earlier this year versus the Nuggets: 30 points, 11 rebounds and six fouls in 22 minutes. If that’s not a Boogie stat line, I don’t know what is. What other reason do you need to watch the Kings play other than the possibility of seeing Boogie put up that kind of stat line on any given night?
4. New Orleans Pelicans
JD: For the same reason that you should watch the Kings for Boogie, you should watch the Pelicans for Anthony Davis. The Brow does things that are just getting ridiculous at this point. He actually blocked two shots in two seconds a couple of games ago. He does things like that while averaging 25 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks a game. He keeps getting harder and harder to believe.
NJ: Durst, I think I might be hearing something? What is that? Is that faint MVP chants in the distance? They keep on getting louder. Davis’ MVP chances are similar to the chances that his alma mater, the University of Kentucky, goes 40-0 this year – unlikely, but not impossible. I am predicting that Davis will finish in the top five in the MVP voting, the top three if the Pelicans make the playoffs.
3. Washington Wizards
NJ: What do Washington sports fans have to be excited about? They are a half game out of second place in the Eastern Conference and their second best player, Bradley Beal, just played his first game of the year. He looked great coming back from his broken wrist, scoring 21 points in only 26 minutes. Durst, this team is really good. If Chicago and Cleveland don’t live up to the hype, I think they are going to the finals. (Note: Janick liked the team in his and Durst’s NBA Preview.)
JD: What do Washington sports fans have to be excited about right now? The answer is the fourth seed in the East and a future playoff date with Atlanta, which they’ll lose. On the bright side, next year, they’ll still be the fourth seed. This team is a lot better than they were last year, but they’re not better than Chicago, Cleveland or Toronto. They’ve gotten off to a hot start, so maybe they’ll prove me wrong, but right now, they are a very entertaining team to watch and to at least keep an eye on as the season progresses.
2. Memphis Grizzlies
JD: Memphis has already proven that we ranked them too low. They look great right now, especially after their blowout win over the Houston Rockets on Monday. They play the best fundamental basketball in the league besides the Spurs. It’s about time that they make a scene.
NJ: We screwed up and switched Memphis (12) and Portland (7) in our NBA preview. This is a team that is one shooter away from making a run at the title this year. You can’t win a title with your two best shooters being Courtney Lee and 37-year-old Vince Carter. This is a team that nobody in the Western Conference will want to play in the playoffs.
1. Toronto Raptors
NJ: This team is really fun to watch. Kyle Lowry is emerging as a legitimate star in this league, and it’s a shame that nobody is watching. They also have the high-flying wings of DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross who have had countless highlight dunks in their careers. Durst, we have gotten into multiple arguments about which team is better, Toronto or Washington, but both teams have unique talents at point guard with Lowry and John Wall and upcoming stars on the wing with Ross, DeRozan and Beal. The Eastern Conference has turned out to be much more entertaining than we expected.
JD: Kyle Lowry should have been an all-star last year. He is a good defender and his offensive skill set needs no introduction. He could legitimately make a run as the best point guard in the East this year. His only real competition is John Wall, if you factor in injury reports (Derrick Rose). DeMar DeRozan has proven that he is a top-10 shooting guard in the league, and arguably in the top five. Jonas Valanciunas is only going to get better. Plus, there’s always the threat of Terrence Ross going for 51 points in a game again. The Raptors are going to continue to be good.
– By Jacob Durst, Staff Writer, and Nathan Janick, Staff Writer