6. Washington Wizards (7-3)
After finishing 20th in the NBA in defensive rating last season, the Washington Wizards have been much stingier on that end to begin the 2022 campaign. Ranked fifth in the league defensively, the Wizards have held their last two opponents to below 95 points, with the most recent being the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks.
Despite struggling from the outside (25.4%), Bradley Beal has had a couple of 30-plus point games and dropped 30 on Milwaukee to push Washington's record to an unanticipated 7-3 through 10 games.
Montrezl Harrell (1.2 blocks) and Daniel Gafford (1.9) have been formidable in the paint and have helped the Wizards take the second slot in blocks per game in the early season. As a whole, the team is doing well at limiting possessions to one shot, pulling down a second-best 39.1 defensive boards per game.
Next for Washington: Cavaliers, Magic, Pelicans
5. Utah Jazz (7-3)
The Utah Jazz have demonstrated devastating offensive efficiency to win seven of their first 10 games. After a career year last season, Donovan Mitchell is producing at the same rate despite shooting just 30% from the outside. That should scare opponents.
Despite the new NBA rules limiting foul calls, Utah is shooting the most free throws per game this season at 24.1 and is 5th in free throw percentage. Beyond that, they're shooting the second-most threes per game but are only knocking down 31.8% so far.
Sunday's loss to the Magic was a bad one, but Utah has a five-game homestand coming up and has team health on their side.
Next for Utah: Hawks, Pacers, Heat