Here's a few things catching my eye early in the season:
Terry Rozier Stepping Up
Until very recently, I'd not really paid much attention to Terry Rozier. After a terrible rookie season, he was only a bit player in last year's Celtics squad; Stevens had a pretty good guard rotation with Thomas, Bradley, and Smart. Rozier is mostly known for his great rebounding, but it's always been paired with terrible shooting efficiency.
The basics haven't changed, but the amounts have. Rozier is making up nicely for Hayward's injury, even if it isn't on the scoring front. He's gobbling up more rebounds then ever, leads the team in steals/48, has only 3 turnovers in 172 minutes, all without fouling more.
Uh, 68% true shooting on 20+ shots a night? That's unsustainable....right? I think...? It's remarkable that he's doing this despite a thoroughly mediocre three point shot, meaning that most defenders are playing the drive, not the shot. When you only need one dribble to go from half court to the hoop, though, good luck with that. He's the early front-runner for MVP, even though I think someone is overlooking another player...
Clint Capela is a Monster in the Early Going
But it's hard to tell because for inexplicable reasons, he is not leading the team in minutes. Yes, I know he is foul-prone, but wow am I getting tired of coaches who don't seem to understand that missing 10 minutes because you're on the bench with foul trouble isn't any better than missing 10 minutes because you fouled out. Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies. The Rockets are playing way too many minutes without a good big man on the floor.
Steven Adams is thriving
We've always been fans of Adams but he seems to have turned it up a few notches this year. He's murderous on the offensive boards (averaging more ORBs that DRBs is *weird* for a big man).
The ROY award is Ben Simmons' to Lose
Simmons isn't just playing like the best rookie...he's playing like one of the best players, period. He's a triple-double threat on a lot of nights. His free throw shooting is a huge problem, though, and more so than for other big men if Philly is going to keep using him as the primary ball handler -- you can't have a guy shooting 56% from the line taking inbounds passes late in close games.