Luis Scola #4 of the Indiana Pacers blocks the shot of Luol Deng #9 of the Chicago Bulls
Luis Scola #4 of the Indiana Pacers blocks the shot of Luol Deng #9 of the Chicago Bulls

We are a little more than a month into the 2013-2014 season and we have already witnessed a bunch of surprises. Teams that were expected to be on top are currently struggling, trying to avoid the last seeds of their respective conferences. On the other hand, teams that weren’t projected to make much of an impact are dominant. Let’s see who the winners and losers in the NBA are, after almost a month into the season.

Winner: Portland Trail Blazers

Did anyone expect the Portland Trail Blazers to even make it to the playoff this season? Maybe the team’s fans and a few more people around the league. Did anyone expect them to sit atop of the Western Conference after 17 games into the season? Probably not. And yet there they are.

Portland has been playing exceptionally well during the start of the season. Of course, the month of December includes several tough games against the elite teams in the NBA, which might put their No.1 seed in jeopardy. However, the company of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard is making statement this season.

Winner: Indiana Pacers

Everyone knew the Pacers would be dominant this season. However, the 16-1 start in the season seems like it came out of a dream for the Pacers and there is no sign of them slowing down. With Paul George playing like a true superstar and with Roy Hibbert controlling the air around the rim on both ends of the floor, the Pacers are now considered as one of the top favorites to win the Larry O’Brien trophy this season.

Winner: Houston Rockets

Whilst the Rockets are not at the top of the West and despite the Omer Asik issue, the team has now found the recipe of success. Dwight Howard has bonded perfectly with James Harden and the supporting cast seems to be legit for Kevin McHale’s team. There is much more work left ahead for the Rockets, but the foundation for a championship contention this season is here.

Loser: Chicago Bulls

The Bulls waited 1.5 year to see their superstar point guard, Derrick Rose hitting the courts once again. Now, after his meniscus injury, they will have to wait more. It will be very difficult, though not impossible, for the Bulls to bounce back and contend for a championship. At this point, however and with a 7-8 start in the season, things are not looking good for them.

Losers: New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets

Both New York teams are in a tough position at the moment. The Knicks are 3-13 and play awfully after losing Tyson Chandler with a fractured right fibula. The Nets are 5-12 and they are really struggling, despite having a roster that looks sizzling on paper. Both teams were supposed to contend for a championship this season. Of course, there is a long way ahead into the season. However, they will have to shake things up quickly, if they want to try and meet the expectations of their fans.