The NBA’s 2021/22 regular season is only eight days old and no team has played more than four games, but 27 of the league’s 30 teams have already lost at least once. The three undefeated teams left standing are the Bulls (4-0), Warriors (4-0), and Jazz (3-0).
Of those three clubs that have opened the season on winning streaks, Utah is perhaps the least surprising. The Jazz had the NBA’s best record last season and were expected to be in the mix for that honor again in 2021/22 — no team in the Western Conference was projected by oddsmakers to win more regular season games than Quin Snyder‘s club.
Still, the Jazz haven’t faced faced an especially tough test through the first week of the season. Their first two wins came over lottery teams (the Thunder and Kings), and their third opponent (the Nuggets) was missing its two maximum-salary players, Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, due to injuries when Utah pulled away in the second half on Tuesday.
The new-look Bulls, led by All-Star Zach LaVine and newcomer DeMar DeRozan, have looked great so far, especially on defense, where they rank fourth in the NBA. But they also haven’t been tested by a top-tier opponent — their first four wins came against Detroit, New Orleans, and Toronto, all of whom are missing key players.
Chicago’s road will get a whole lot tougher starting on Wednesday. Twelve of the Bulls’ next 13 contests will be against playoff teams from last season, and the 13th game will be vs. Golden State, the league’s other unbeaten club.
The Warriors’ hot start may be the most impressive of the bunch — their first two wins were against the Lakers and Clippers, and three of the four have been in road games. I was a little concerned entering the season about Golden State’s depth with Klay Thompson, James Wiseman, and Jonathan Kuminga still on the mend, but a second unit led by Damion Lee, Andre Iguodala, and Nemanja Bjelica has been solid so far, and Stephen Curry (29.0 PPG) has been his usual dominant self.
The Dubs have a chance to keep their hot start going, as they begin an eight-game home stand on Thursday. That stretch will include six games against 2020/21 lottery teams, though some of those clubs – including Chicago and Charlotte – have looked more dangerous in ’21/22.
We want to know what you think. Being undefeated at this point in the season doesn’t mean much – the Magic started last season 4-0, for instance – but do you feel like these teams are for real? Are the Warriors and Bulls playoff-bound? Will the Jazz be the West’s No. 1 seed again? Or do you expect one or two of these clubs to cool off and come back down to earth in the coming days or weeks?
Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your thoughts!