Ranking NBA season’s biggest surprises, including Lakers’ disaster, James Harden trade, Grizzlies’ rapid rise

If you’re one of those people who say they hate surprises, you’re probably lying to yourself. Studies have shown that most people love surprises, as noted in an experiment from Emory University where scientists studied the subjects’ brains while they received intermittent bursts of either water or fruit juice.

“We find that so-called pleasure centers in the brain do not react equally to any pleasurable substance, but instead react more strongly when the pleasures are unexpected,” said Gregory S. Berns, one of the leaders of the 2001 study. “This means that the brain finds unexpected pleasures more rewarding than expected ones, and it may have little to do with what people say they like.”

If that’s the case, this has been an extremely pleasurable NBA season. While some things have gone according to plan, like the Phoenix Suns being really good and Giannis Antetokounmpo terrorizing the league, the season has been full of unexpected twists and turns, both good and bad.

Below we have ranked the seven biggest surprises of the 2021-22 NBA season.

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Sure, there were rumblings. But did we actually think it was going to happen this season? There was reported mutual interest dating back to last season between Harden and 76ers president Daryl Morey to get the superstar guard to Philadelphia, but the Brooklyn Nets entered the season as the consensus favorite…


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