Taking a glance at the NBA standings two weeks into the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season can be pretty confusing.
The defending-champion Dallas Mavericks are just 3-5, while the Deron Williams-and- Jerry Sloan-less Utah Jazz are 4-3.
Boston and it's Big Four of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo is just 4-4, while the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that went 19-63 last season, is 4-3.
Will everything come out in the wash as the 66-game season continues, or are these records and early indicator of what to expect come playoff time?
It was a fair question to ask Saturday on the eve of the 5-4 Lakers playing the 3-4 Grizzlies. Both teams made the second round of the playoffs a year ago, but neither has looked too hot coming out of the gate this season.
"This whole thing is just kind of wacky," Mike Brown said, pointing out how Portland beat the Lakers by 11 on Thursday and then lost to Phoenix by 25 on Friday. "Anything can happen on any given day. That’s what I’m starting to figure out here."
Brown said he doesn't know where the Grizzlies stand. Yes, they took Oklahoma City to a Game 7 in the conference semifinals last spring, but they just lost Zach Randolph to a tear of his MCL in his right knee and could be without Z-Bo for up to eight weeks.
"Where are they going to settle? I don’t know," Brown said. "Do I think they’re a playoff team with Randolph? Yes I do. But the reality of it is, I’m not sure."
Brown said some separation should start to occur in the standings "once teams start losing and they feel like they don’t have a chance," but he was speaking about what happens in a "normal," 82-game season.
But what about in a lockout year?
"This time around, I don’t have a feel for it because I still feel Dallas is a playoff team and I still think Boston’s a playoff team, but those guys have gotten beat and they’ve gotten beat handily," Brown said. "... I don’t know. I don’t have any answers when it comes to that type of stuff."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.