Despite the early-season drama, the Rockets have been getting it done on the defensive end. Aside from the dominance of the two Los Angeles teams, the 2020–21 season hasn’t exactly gone as predicted through the first 20 games. The Mavericks are sliding as the Rockets surge without James Harden in the Western Conference, while in the East, the Heat and Raptors sit outside even the play-in tournament. Memphis is the No. 4 seed out West. The Hawks and Cavaliers are projected postseason teams. Save the spiel regarding small sample size for another time. For now, the playoff race remains wide open, with a slate of surprise teams crashing the party.