A week into the 2017-2018 NBA season, with most teams playing 3 or 4 games, we still have four teams without a loss: Washington Wizards, San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies and the Los Angeles Clippers.
Los Angeles Clippers (2-0)
The Clips are the only team on this short list with just two games in the bag: A comfortable 108-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on opening night followed by a 42-point drubbing of the awful Phoenix Suns. The team has the best defensive rating in the league (86.1 points per 100 possessions) and the 4th best offensive rating at 113.8. They’re holding their opponents to a league best 39.5% from the field and only 25% from beyond the arc.
As for players who are standing out in the Chris Paul era, Blake Griffin is averaging 29 points and 10 rebounds per game, Lou Williams is giving them 15 points in less than 25 minutes a night, Patrick Beverley is averaging 12.5 points while making noise by shutting down and bullying Lonzo Ball, and DeAndre Jordan has a total of 37 rebounds through the first two games, including 12 on offense.
The Clippers’ next game is at home against the Utah Jazz (2-1).
Memphis Grizzlies (3-0)
The Grizzlies continue to do what they do best, while no one is paying attention. Play great defense, smart and slow offense. So far it’s been enough to beat the Pelicans (103-91), the Warriors (111-101) and the Rockets on the road (98-90). Their defense is 6th in the league so far, giving up 98.7 points per 100 possessions, while their offense is putting up over 109 points per 100 possessions, 9th in the NBA. They’re holding their opponents to 39.6% from the field and 27.7% from three, second only to the Clippers.
Marc Gasol, who rocked the Warriors, is averaging 24.7 points, 10 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game, followed by Mike Conley with 18 points a night, James Ennis and Dillon Brooks both in double figures as well as Tyreke Evans, scoring over 9 points in 22 minutes per game, adding some spark off the bench.
The Grizzlies next game will be on the road against the winless Dallas Mavericks (0-4).
San Antonio Spurs (3-0)
Without Kawhi Leonard or Tony Parker, the Spurs are outplaying everyone by having the next guy step up. So far they’ve beaten the Minnesota Timberwolves (107-99), Chicago Bulls (87-77) and Toronto Raptors (101-97). They’re doing it with the second best defense in the NBA (94.6 points per 100 possessions) and despite the 20th offensive rating in the league. They’re also second in the NBA with 14.7 offensive rebounds a night.
So who has been stepping up? LaMarcus Aldridge, he of unhappy rumors, is averaging 24.3 points a game. Behind him are Danny Green with 14.3 points a night, Dejounte Murray taking over at point guard with 13.3 points per game and Rudy Gay, scoring 12.3 points in less than 23 minutes per game.
The Spurs’ next game is on the road against the 2-1 Miami Heat.
Washington Wizards (3-0)
The last team on our list are the Wizards, the only team from the Eastern conference without a loss. They’ve so far won against the 76ers (120-115), Pistons (115-111) and the Nuggets (109-104) on the road. Offense has been the key to their success, scoring 112.7 points per 100 possessions, 5th best in the NBA. Their defense is 20th in the league thus far.
Points have been coming mostly from their wing players and point guard. John Wall leads the team with 24.3 points per game, followed by Bradley Beal pouring down 23.3 a night and Otto Porter Jr., starting to live up to his contract with 18.3 points per game. Marcin Gortat and Kelly Oubre are also scoring in double figures, so far leaving very little work for their bench.
The Wizards next game is on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers (1-2).
Teams without a win: Chicago Bulls (0-2), New York Knicks (0-2), Dallas Mavericks (0-4).