It comes as no small surprise that, in the first TSN.ca NBA Power Rankings of the season, the New York Knicks find themselves on top, ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies (another surprise) and Oklahoma City Thunder (not so surprising).
The Knicks, off to a 7-1 start, have been getting solid play from J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton, which could be surprising enough, but greybeards Jason Kidd and Rasheed Wallace have been effective in their roles, which are admittedly limited compared to their primes.
Some other early surprises include the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets, both in the Top 10, while the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets were a couple of teams that were in the preseason Top 10, yet have struggled early.
The Toronto Raptors, ranked 18th in the preseason, have fallen to 25th after a 3-7 start and, more importantly, an injury to point guard Kyle Lowry.
While there may not be any doubts about which teams are legitimate NBA title contenders, at least the early returns for this season have added some intrigue with expected playoff teams like the Knicks and Grizzlies performing at a higher level through the first couple weeks of the season.