The latest on the happenings with the early NBA season.

This has been an interesting year in the NBA. We’re about eight games into the season, and so far, there have been a few surprises. Contending teams are taking care of business and are fighting for the top spot of their respective conferences. But they have some competition. 

This year, there are some teams who most fans wouldn’t consider contenders making some noise. They are looking like playoff contenders, and if everything goes right, we’ll see them in the playoffs when it’s time. This is especially true for the Eastern Conference. With that said, let’s take a look at Eastern Conference teams that are exceeding expectations. 

1.) The Chicago Bulls 

The Chicago Bulls had a solid offseason. They picked up DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and fan-favorite Alex Caruso. And, the moves seem to be paying off. 

The Bulls are 6-2 this season, and as it stands, they are third in the East. Chicago was first in the East earlier this season and was undefeated until their 104-103 loss to the New York Knicks. 

Chicago is easily one of the most improved teams this season. They went from a lottery team to being a legitimate playoff team. Is a championship in Chicago’s near future? Of course not. But after years of struggling, the Bulls are finally on the right track. 

2.) The Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors are doing well this season. They are 6-3, and as it stands, they are on a five-game winning streak. 

The Raptors have been on a decline since their championship win, and with the loss of veteran guard Kyle Lowry, the Raptors are officially rebuilding. But their rebuild is progressing faster than we thought. 

Toronto has a group of young talent, including their pick from the 2021 draft Scottie Barnes. Barnes came into the league with a reputation of being a good defender. But he’s also doing really well on offense. Barnes is averaging 18.1 and is shooting 55.1 percent from the field. 

Barnes is a special talent, and playing alongside players like OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam (who will return to action soon) will help his game even more. And the Raptors could return to being a legitimate contender. 

While it’s still early in the season, it’s hard to ignore the Raptors and what they’re doing. So, keep an eye on them. 

3.) The Washington Wizards

The Washington Wizards are in limbo. At times they look like a playoff team, and other times they look like a rebuilding team. But their performance this season could help them make the playoffs for their second straight season. 

Washington is a mostly young team with players like Rui Hachimura and Kyle Kuzma. They also have a veteran player in Bradley Beal, who has been with the team since 2012. Beal has been involved in trade rumors in the past few seasons, and recently, Celtics star Jayson Tatum (and fellow St. Louis native) mentioned he and Beal have talked teaming up plenty of times. But as it stands, Beal will remain with the Wizards. 

While the Wizards did make the playoffs last season, they are a hard time to figure out. They traded John Wall before the start of last season. Then, they traded Russell Westbrook (who they acquired in exchange for Wall) before the 2021 NBA Draft. So, they’ve traded two players who were supposed to play alongside Beal. 

The Wizards are doing well at the start of the season, and if they keep it up, they may be a team to watch. 

The Eastern Conference is becoming more competitive, and if these teams continue to play well, we’re in for an exciting season.

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