Now that the season is officially a week in, the fun can truly begin. Here are some of my thoughts and expectations on the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto Raptors: The 6ix god’s team is looking pretty damn good early on in the 2015-16 season. Undefeated behind the stellar play of both Jonas Valanciunas and DeMar DeRozan, this team is looking energetic and fiery, not to mention the new Drake designed uniforms are looking pretty fuego as well.
Boston Celtics: The Celts are looking terrible in my honest opinion. With a very talented young roster, and some strong veteran presence, I hoped to see Boston take the league by storm this year. Yes it is early and this could still happen, but with the way the Green have been playing, I’m starting to lose faith.
New York Knicks: New York has hopped out to a solid 2-2 record this year, thanks in part to the play of not only their new veterans, but also their younger ballers as well. Melo still looks a bit out of sorts and rusty, but as long as he finds his stroke and the team stays cohesive, I can see the Knicks on pace to my projected 29 win season. Good luck to Porzingis as his MRI came back negative.
Milwaukee Bucks: Milwaukee has been very disappointing up to this point, 1-3 record, after a breakout season last year in which they flew into the playoffs. The acquisition of Greg Monroe looks to be working within the team, though very slowly, as he has proved to be a reliable scorer and rebounder. The Buck’s young star Antetokounpo is looking good, but until they win some games, I am wary of all the “Buck Hype” going around.
Indiana Pacers: The Pacers are another disappointing team early in the season, sitting on an 0-3 record. The teams issues with finding offense off the bench and trying to push All Star Paul George into the PF position need to be worked out before games can be won. While I am hopeful for Indy, I am becoming a bit skeptical in the organizations progress the more I watch them play.
Miami Heat: Regardless of what some might say, the Miami roster is looking pretty stacked as of now With a heavy-hitting and high-flying bench filled with equal parts scorers and defenders, I see no reason why the Heats record won’t improve quite soon.
Charlotte Hornets: I have not been able to watch much of the Hornets, but judging by their record of 0-3, there hasn’t been much to watch. With a promising lineup filled with a mix of vets and young impact players, I am disappointed in Buzz-City’s shabby record early on. That being said, I do believe Charlotte will shake it off and come out aggressive in their upcoming games.
Washington Wizards: With a 2-1 record, the Wizards season is very young yet very promising. Showing that they can stick around late in games, Orlando, gives me the idea that this team has matured and is ready to move on to a higher plane. The exceptional play of both John Wall and Bradley Beal doesn’t hurt their chances in a conference with generally weak guards.
Atlanta Hawks: ATL is looking like a solid team early on for a second year in a row. With their big three putting up solid per-game stats, I can definitely see the Hawks remaining very competitive in the East. Atlanta’s record is 3-1 as of today.
Brooklyn Nets: Unfortunately, Brooklyn is looking like one of the weakest teams in an already weak conference. If veteran guard/forward Joe Johnson can get his game on track, and their frontcourt remains consistent, the Nets 0-4 record might just start looking different.
Orlando Magic: Orlando is one of the most curious teams in the shaky Eastern Conference so far. Though their record is 0-3, they have been in every game until the last buzzer, and have honestly looked good as a team. Tobias Harris is consistent, Elfrid Payton looks as if he’s ready to pickup where he left off last year, and Vucevic and Oladipo have emerged as early season stars. If this team can get a bit more from their bench and stay in games late, Orlando can expect to start rising in the east.
Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers have come into the season with a disappointing 0-3 record, despite the very solid play of their young franchise big men. If the team can begin to further center their offense around the low post beast that is Jahlil Okafor, I believe Philly will start looking much more respectable. The strong play from Noel should be realized as well.
Cleveland Cavaliers: After an opening night loss, the Cavs have gone on a 3 game win streak and are looking fluid with their ball movement. LeBron has publicly come out and decided to share the offensive burden with new friend and All Star, Kevin Love, a move that has seemingly united the team further. Kevin Love looks very confident on both sides of the ball, and kudos to LBJ on becoming the youngest ever to reach 25,000 points.
Chicago Bulls: The Bulls are looking good right now at 3-1 under new head coach Fred Hoiberg. The new look starting lineup features much more of the young Nikola Mirotic, starting at the four, and small forward Tony Snell who have both played consistently. Jimmy Butler has been sensational, and Pau’s play deserves a nod as well.
Detroit Pistons: Now if you have been following the young 2015-16 season, you might be thinking that your eyes are deceiving you when it comes to Detroit’s record. Fear not, as your eyes are perfectly fine, the Pistons are actually undefeated at 3-0. Now while I do have the Pistons pegged for a playoff berth, I do believe that they are just playing slightly above their heads right now, and will eventually come back down to earth. Although, Andre Drummond deserves a shoutout, his play has been phenomenal.