The 2015-16 NBA season finally has arrived, a little more than four months after Stephen Curry and the Warriors celebrated as champions.
A wild offseason that included unforeseen free-agent signings (LaMarcus Aldridge), expected free-agent signings (Kevin Love), surefire draft picks (Karl Towns) and wild card draft picks (Kristaps Porzingis), we're finally ready to tip off the 69th edition of the NBA regular season.
Each Monday - Tuesday, given tonight's tip-off - Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill and Mark Strotman will dish out their weekly power rankings.
And to begin the year, everyone's still chasing the champs.
The defending champions bring everyone back. Nothing lucky about it.
|2 (-)||(0-0)||Injuries to Irving and Shumpert will mean a bumpy start, but having LeBron James smooths out plenty.|
|3 (-)||(0-0)||The offseason's winners are no longer just an aging team waiting for Father Time to arrive.|
|4 (-)||(0-0)||A healthy Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka is as good as any trio in the league. Now we see how Billy Donovan fits.|
|5 (-)||(0-0)||If Dwight Howard stays healthy there's no reason they can't contend for a championship again this year.|
|6 (-)||(0-0)||New pieces on the second unit should help one of the league's best starting units.|
|7 (-)||(0-0)||They won't reach 60 wins again, and DeMarre Carroll's departure hurts, but this is still a dangerous team.|
|8 (-)||(0-0)||Marc Gasol is only getting better, but questions remain if they have enough talent to get over the playoff hump.|
|9 (-)||(0-0)||The Fred Hoiberg era begins with steep expectations, which they could match so long as the stout defense remains.|
|10 (-)||(0-0)||A sneaky pick to win the East, Dwyane Wade's health will be a key factor all season.|
|11 (-)||(0-0)||Anthony Davis in Alvin Gentry's system could produce numbers we've never seen from a 22-year-old.|
|12 (-)||(0-0)||This is the year John Wall enters the MVP conversation.|
|13 (-)||(0-0)||Kyle Lowry is on a mission and DeMar DeRozan enters a contract year. Important year for the team's future.|
|14 (-)||(0-0)||The Greg Monroe signing was quietly one of the offseason's best moves. Milwaukee could flirt with a top-4 finish.|
|15 (-)||(0-0)||In the wake of the DeAndre Jordan fiasco, big questions about how the aging/banged up Mavs will fare.|
|16 (-)||(0-0)||If Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight can co-exist, Phoenix has a shot to sneak in the playoffs.|
|17 (-)||(0-0)||Brad Stevens will be tasked with finding a solid eight-man rotation amongst many similarly-skilled players.|
|18 (-)||(0-0)||Paul George being back and healthy is a major positive for the NBA and fans.|
|19 (-)||(0-0)||A good bet to replace Portland or Dallas for a spot in the Western Conference playoffs.|
|20 (-)||(0-0)||A healthy Nicolas Batum gives the Hornets another valuable piece to go with Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson.|
|21 (-)||(0-0)||Time for Damian Lillard to rally the troops and prove doubters wrong.|
|22 (-)||(0-0)||They'll be helped out by playing in the East, but not much to get excited about in Brooklyn.|
|23 (-)||(0-0)||Andre Drummond back serious breakout potential, though he'll have to do it in the East's toughest division.|
|24 (-)||(0-0)||Exciting young core that may be a few years away from contending in the East. Mario Hezonja will be too fun to watch.|
|25 (-)||(0-0)||Rajon Rondo and DeMarcus Cousins will either be a dynamite pairing or a stick of dynamite about to be lit.|
|26 (-)||(0-0)||Emmanuel Mudiay's and head coach Mike Malone's arrival give some brightness to the future.|
|27 (-)||(0-0)||They'll be much better this season, especially if Kristaps Porzingis develops in Year 1.|
|28 (-)||(0-0)||Good young pieces (Russell, Randle, Clarkson) in place for what could be Kobe's last season.|
|29 (-)||(0-0)||As good a young nucleus as there is in the league, but the West is unforgiving.|
|30 (-)||(0-0)||Expect Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor to work well together. Just don't expect it to result in wins just yet.|