Despite the hectic 2020 that ended in the NBA Orlando Bubble, people are counting down the days until the NBA starts again. As the NBA starts up again we are taking a look at some players who are making immediate impacts or were big additions in the Eastern Conference this offseason.
Atlanta Hawks: Bogdan Bogdanovic
Despite a chaotic offseason that had a lot of focus on the Bogdan Bogdanovic fiasco, he ended up on the Atlanta Hawks signing a four-year, 72 million dollar deal. The reason that Bogdan Bogdanovic is the Atlanta Hawks’ best addition and it’s not Danilo Gallinari is due to the fact that Hawks despite having great pieces are still a young core. Bogdan will help complement star point guard Trae Young and can help the Hawks potentially make deep eastern conference runs in the future.
Boston Celtics: Tristan Thompson
The Celtics didn’t have a very eventful offseason but still made a couple of underrated moves. One addition they made was the signing of former Cavaliers big man, Tristan Thompson. Tristan Thompson is a solid rebounder and someone with a high motor who always plays hard.
He also provides nice veteran leadership and experience for a young Celtics team coming off a tough Eastern Conference Finals loss. The addition of Thompson wasn’t one of the bigger splashes of this offseason. Despite that, this will still help the Celtics who will most likely be a playoff team.
Brooklyn Nets: The Return of Kevin Durant
Although this addition took place last off-season Kevin Durant never suited up which is why he is one of the biggest storylines coming into the new season. So far this season, Kevin Durant has looked spectacular averaging 26.7 points through three games.
The addition of Kevin Durant has propelled the Nets to the top of the Eastern Conference and makes them seem like the favorite to win the Eastern Conference title. Once the playoffs hit there is no doubt that Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets will be there.
Charlotte Hornets: Gordon Hayward:
The addition of Gordon Hayward this offseason for 120 million over four years was seen by many as a loss for the Hornets because many felt Hayward’s skill was declining. Hayward has proven many of the doubters so far this season averaging all-star caliber numbers of 22.7 points, 7 assists, and 4.7 rebounds.
Even though it has only been a small sample size Hayward looks rejuvenated and ready to prove the doubters wrong and show that he deserved his new contract with the Hornets.
Chicago Bulls: Patrick Williams
The Chicago Bulls had a very uneventful off-season and their only addition that was notable was their fourth overall draft pick, Patrick Williams. This draft pick was seen as a shock due to Patrick being selected over other prospects like Obi Toppin and Deni Avdija.
Patrick Williams had has a solid start to his career averaging 10 points but besides him, the Bulls have not had any noteworthy additions to help them compete in the Eastern Conference.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Isaac Okoro
Isaac Okoro was a significant addition for the Cavaliers who had a reasonably uneventful off-season. Okoro has shown flashes this pre-season and they have continued into the beginning of the regular season.`Okoro is a great compliment on the wing for young guards Collin Sexton and Darius Garland.
Overall, the Cavaliers look to have a bright future in the Eastern Conference but, with this roster, they will most likely not be a playoff team
Detroit Pistons: Jerami Grant
Jerami Grant has proven so far this season that he deserved the contract he got in the offseason. Jerami has averaged 18.5 points and 5.5 rebounds so far this season. He has made an immediate impact on a young Pistons team and looks like he has deserved every penny.
Overall, the Pistons will most likely not be an eastern conference playoff team but the addition of Jerami Grant will make an impact on a young Pistons team for a long time.
Indiana Pacers: Justin Holiday
The Pacers were another Eastern Conference team with not many additions or signings. The only signing they had that has made a solid impact was Justin Holiday. Holiday is a solid role player for any team and provides the Pacers with some nice bench depth. The Pacers will be a playoff team and look to be a dark horse to win the east. With nice ball movement and balanced play, Justin Holiday will be a nice scorer off the bench.
Miami Heat: Extending Bam Adebayo
This offseason seemed to be hard for the Heat to get much better due to the fact that they just had an outstanding playoff. The Heat did, however, lock up franchise cornerstone center, Bam Adebayo. Bam has been great so far this season being a do it center that the Heat need. He is averaging 21 points and 7.5 rebounds remaining consistent and determined to help lead the heat to another deep Eastern Conference playoff run.
Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holiday
The Milwaukee Bucks are a team that needed to add a spark to try and help franchise player Giannis Antetokounmpo reach the NBA Finals. This off-season they added an all-star caliber player in Jrue Holiday. Jrue has been solid to start the season averaging 15 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists.
The Bucks if they want to make the Finals they need Jrue Holiday to play like the borderline all-star he was in New Orleans when he averaged 19 points last season.
New York Knicks: Alec Burks
The Knicks have added rookies Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley this off-season through the draft, but, their best addition so far has been Alec Burks. Off the bench, Burks has provided an instant spark whenever he steps on the court. Burks averages 20.7 points being a complete scorer everything the Knicks need off the bench. He is shooting an out of this world 67 percent from three, on 15 attempts, through three games.
Overall, the Knicks are a young team who will struggle but Burks should provide steady scoring and ultimately either be a great role player or trade asset at the deadline.
Orlando Magic: Cole Anthony
Coming off a season where they were the 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Orlando Magic had one of the worst off-seasons in the NBA. The only addition the Magic made was drafting Cole Anthony. Cole Anthony coming out of North Carolina is seen as a guard that could make an immediate impact on an NBA team. Anthony has averaged 9 points and 5 assists off the bench and looks like someone who will be an eventual starter in the NBA.
Philadelphia 76ers: Seth Curry
Seth Curry is often overlooked because of his older brother Steph but Seth is also one of the best shooters in the NBA. Seth has been making an immediate impact on the 76ers with his ability to shoot the ball. He has been shooting 43 percent from three-point range and is a great wing player that fits the 76ers needs.
Ben Simmons is a point guard who has no outside game so it is important for him to have people that he can swing the ball to. Seth Curry will have a great impact on the 76ers and will be their primary three-point shooter and someone who can spread the floor.
Toronto Raptors: Extending Fred VanVleet
Over the past two seasons, Fred Van Vleet has been part of the Raptors core that has finished as NBA champions and second in the Eastern Conference. VanVleet is averaging 18 points per game and six assists. VanVleet is proving that he deserves the extension he received in the offseason.
He has been improving every season so far in his career and this extension solidifies VanVleet as a long-time Raptor. He is someone who will look to help lead the Raptors to many more playoff appearances.
Washington Wizards: Russell Westbrook
This offseason the Wizards traded John Wall and other pieces to the Rockets in order to receive Russell Westbrook. Despite all the hate Westbrook receives, he is still among the top point guards in the NBA. He is a former MVP and receives too much hate for things like stat padding and ball-hogging. These factors do not describe Westbrooks’s game as he has been a great player for a long time.
If Westbrook plays well with Bradley Beal and they help the other Wizards players improve they should try and contend for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.