The NBA has been back for a week and already living up to the expectations. Teams such as the Chicago Bulls have looked well albeit in the two games so far. Their core players acquired in the offseason seem to complement each other's game. Lonzo Ball is a great fit for the team with his pass first mentality while also being able to provide shooting and defense with his length. Alex Caruso has wasted no time in being a fan favorite for the team with his highlights and energy in the game. Demar Derozan contributes veteran leadership and points although he isn’t shooting efficiently for his usual standards. Zach Lavine is the leader of this team and he has over 30 points in both games. The team is intriguing because in addition to their offensive power, their players are lengthy and have shown flashes of a great defensive team. The Bulls are certainly improving from a year prior and look to be a contender in the East come playoff time.
A surprise for fans not only from New York has seen the Knicks start 2-0. Their season began with a double overtime thriller against the Boston Celtics in their season opener where they won 138-134. While some can say the game was a bit lucky they followed that performance by the Orlando Magic in the following game 121-96. Offseason acquisitions of Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier have New York buzzing. In the game against the Celtics, Fournier scored 32 points on 52% from the field in a game where every single point was needed. Julius Randle had a lot to prove after a disappointing postseason after the regular season he recorded and started the year off on a good note with 35 points. The Knicks are a physical team as all Tom Thibodeau usually are and get up on their opponents physically on the defensive end. The combination of young players with their older veterans gives them a balance of the two. After making the playoffs last year after a long hiatus, the Knicks are now looking to stay longer than the first round this time around.
Lamelo Ball is a well established name and viewed as the leader of the Charlotte Hornets heading into not only this year but for the future of the franchise. After a “Rookie of the Year” campaign last year, he has shown improvement over the break and has the Hornets at 2-0 to start. While his scoring is still rather inconsistent, his passing ability and rebounding have been constant for him. Gordon Hayward, when healthy, is a great scorer for Charlotte. His 27 points in the season opener against the Pacers is proof of that. Miles Bridges is a morale booster for the team with his high energy dunks and plays. Mason Plumlee is not asked to do much but rebound decently and play some level of defense. In the two game sample size, he has done so. The Hornets season ended in the play-in tournament after a no show from them, they look to break into the playoffs this year for the first time since 2016.
Other contenders like the Nets and Bucks don’t need much talking because regardless of how they play in October they are still the favorites to come out of the East. With the improvement of the Eastern Conference, many teams will have something to say about the eight playoff spots towards the end of the regular season.