Regular season review |  Who are the good surprises?  Who are the biggest disappointments?

Regular season review | Who are the good surprises? Who are the biggest disappointments?

We are now attacking the “play-in” and therefore soon the playoffs. We can therefore take stock of the regular season, and look at which teams surprised the most… positively or negatively.

For this, the most “objective” method is to compare the end-of-season balance sheets with the pre-season projections of the Las Vegas bookmakers. The latter are based on all the bets placed on the 30 franchises to establish their odds, which gives interesting estimates, and very often quite close to reality.

Except that of course, the great uncertainty of sport makes it impossible to predict everything.


We can thus divide the teams into five groups, with in particular the very good surprises, that is to say the teams which won more than 10 matches more than what had been projected by the bookmakers.

At the top of the good surprises, we find the Riders (+17.5 wins), announced as one of the worst teams in the East and finally in balance, in the Top 8 of the conference. Without the injuries, the surprise would undoubtedly have been even more beautiful for Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen and company.

Behind, we find the Grizzlies (+14.5), whose 2nd place in the West (and even in the NBA) was difficult to anticipate given the youth of the workforce. The Raptors (+12.5) and the Suns (+12.5) have behind different profiles, the Canadians having exceeded the expectations of a team expected in the soft underbelly of the East, when the men of Monty Williams showed much more control than anticipated.

Finally, the wolves (+10.5) also far exceeded expectations, behind Karl-Anthony Towns at their best level, and a much more balanced squad under Chris Finch.


Among the pleasant surprises, namely the teams that won between 3 and 10 games more than announced, we first find the Spurs (+5.5) and the Celtics (+5.5). The latter are also a team with an astonishing career, which we could classify among the disappointments of the first part of the season, but among the very nice surprises of the second part. This puts them in this intermediate category.

Behind, the Hornets (+4.5), the Warriors (+4.5) and the Heat (+4.5) also exceeded bettors’ forecasts, as did the Bulls (+3.5) and the Mavericks (+3.5).


Six teams are neither good surprises nor disappointments, because their record is within two victories of the expected one. We are talking about Wizards (+1.5), from Thunder (+0.5), nuggets (+0.5), Sixers (+0.5), from Magic (-0.5) and Pistons (-1.5). Or teams in reconstruction and two teams difficult to read before the campaign, between the Nuggets weighed down by injuries and the Sixers who had to manage the divorce with Ben Simmons.


Among the disappointments, with records lower by 3 to 10 victories than those expected, we find the Pelicans (-3.5), weighed down by the white season of Zion Williamson, but also the Clippers (-3.5), disturbed on their side by the absence of Kawhi Leonard and the injury of Paul George.

For the Jazz (-3.5), it was more the internal alchemy that was problematic, while the bucks (-3.5) have been hampered by the long-term absence of Brook Lopez, and have never displayed a dominant face. It can also be noted that the Knicks (-4.5) and the Hawks (-4.5), although disappointing, are ultimately not so far from the results announced by the bookmakers. But the two teams had surprised last year, and we were therefore waiting for confirmation. Which ultimately never arrived, neither in New York nor in Atlanta.

Eternal disappointment, Kings (-6.5) are accompanied by the Rockets (-7.5), yet expected in the depths of the Western Conference, but who still did worse than expected.


Finally, among the big disappointments, i.e. the teams that lost at least 10 games more than expected, we first find the net (-12.5), favorites for the title before the start of the season, but whose campaign was marred by Kyrie Irving’s vaccination status, James Harden’s desire to leave and Kevin Durant’s injury.

For the Pacers (-17.5) and the Blazers (-17.5), it was the injuries and the disappointing results of the first part that led to a change of strategy, the leaders of the two clubs going towards a reconstruction.

But obviously, the biggest disappointment of the season remains the Lakers (-19.5), with nearly twenty victories less than expected! There were certainly big doubts about this workforce, in relation to age, the lack of “spacing” or even a certain attack / defense imbalance, but if we could wonder how handicapping these points would be in the playoffs, no one never imagined that a team with four members of the Top 76 in league history (LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony) and a potential Hall of Famer (Dwight Howard) would miss the playoffs, and not would not even play the “play-in”…

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