It’s never too early to react and overreact after one week of the NBA season.
Some of what we’ve seen may turn out to be long-term trends. That would be great if you’re Minnesota, Chicago, Charlotte, Utah, Golden Stat, New York and Washington. Maybe not so good if you’re New Orleans, Detroit, Orlando, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
And course, some early-season notables might just be flickering aberrations that disappear by Christmas or sooner.
The first week of the season has been filled with chaos, some blowouts and unusual results — which is always expected as teams figure out rotations, minutes, roster changes and deal with injuries.
Let’s take a look at reactions and overreactions after the first week of the season:
The Bulls didn’t sit back and let a rebuild come to them. Front-office execs Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley got players who can help the Bulls win now: Nik Vucevic, DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso joined Zach LaVine.
The early returns are promising with the appropriate caution noted. The Bulls are 4-0, with the victories coming against non-playoff contenders. The Bulls and Coach Billy Donovan have tests awaiting with New York, Utah, Boston, Philadelphia in back-to-back games, Brooklyn, Minnesota and then a West Coast trip at Golden State, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Portland, Denver and back home against the Knicks.
That stretch won’t make or break the Bulls season but will give some indication of just how good they are and if they can challenge for one of the top four spots in the East.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers enter an easy portion of their early-season schedule, but that won’t stop scrutiny of their offense, defense and incorporation of Russell Westbrook. Their struggles have been interspersed with some promise but time is on their side right now. Any team with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook will win games. It’s which games they win and how that is most compelling.
LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets are off to a good start, but if Miles Bridges is going to have this kind of season as a scorer and rebounder (25 points and 8.5 rebounds per game) while shooting 50%-plus from the field, the Hornets will be a playoff team. That would also put Bridges, who didn’t come to terms on a rookie extension with Charlotte, in the mix for Most Improved Player of the year.
There are so many great guards, and more specific, great point guards in the league. Memphis' Ja Morant will be a first-time All-Star and potential All-NBA player if he keeps this up — 37 points in the season-opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers and 40 against the Los Angeles Lakers. Like Bridges, Morant is shooting well, too — 58% from the field and 44.4% on 3s. Long season, but if this is the next step in Morant’s development, watch out.
It’s way too early to tell if the Wizards will be a playoff team come mid-April. But General Manager Tommy Sheppard has constructed a roster with depth. The deal that sent Russell Westbrook to the Lakers for Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell and the Spencer Dinwiddie signing made the Wizards a better team.
The Raptors know how to draft. Scottie Barnes didn’t start the season as one of the favorites for rookie of the year, but if he keeps playing like he is, he’ll be in the conversation. Barnes averages 16.8 points and 8.5 rebounds and is shooting 56% from the field. Speaking of hot rookie shooting, Houston’s Jalen Green is at 47.6% and Indiana’s Chris Duarte at 44.8%.
Kevin Durant and James Harden aren’t shooting well on 3s, and the offense isn’t right just yet. But it should get there even without Kyrie Irving. Combine that slow offensive start with a defense that gives up points. Like the Lakers, this is a team that requires time to solve its issues.
Golden State Warriors
In a deep Western Conference, the Warriors have made an early case that they can compete with the best teams – they have wins against both Los Angeles squads. While the Warriors have some playoff-caliber teams ahead, they don’t have an incredibly difficult schedule over the next few weeks. Steph Curry looks like MVP Steph, and the Warriors expect to have Klay Thompson back this season.
Tyler Herro is one of the favorites to win Sixth Man of the Year, and he’s doing everything to support that notion. If Herro is going to be an all-around 20-point scorer, rebounder and passer off the bench, the Heat have one of the best starting six in the league with Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry, P.J. Tucker and Duncan Robinson. Cultivating depth will make the Heat even more dangerous.
New York Knicks
Julius Randle picked up where he left off (Most Improve last season), and newcomers Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier have a made a difference. And the Knicks go 10 deep. The East is so much fun to watch.
Losses to Denver and Portland and a victory over the Lakers isn’t a horrible start. But teams are coming after the Western Conference champs, and there’s the cloud of a potentially damaging story about owner Robert Sarver. Sarver and the Suns preemptively denied any wrongdoing even though the story has not been published.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NBA reactions and overreactions: Are the Bulls this good?