The Charlotte Hornets host the Chicago Bulls tonight, on both teams first regular season game at Spectrum Center.
James Borrego team is coming off a 39-43 record from last season, but things could get tougher as they've seen both their two top scorers depart for different teams. Kemba Walker, who represented the Hornets for 8 straight seasons, has signed a deal with the Boston Celtics and Jeremy Lamb headed to Indiana to play for the Pacers. Even though they've signed Terry Rozier to a three-year €58 million deal, the Hornets are projected to be one of the worst teams in the league.
Their head coach is hopeful that the team can improve over time, with the pre-season proving to be crucial.
"We've learned more about our guys. We're learning every day." Borrego said before his team's tipoff this night.
Terry Rozier and third-year guard Malik Monk will need to take their level up a notch if they want any chance to be competitive this season, as the Kemba Walker departure could prove to be a big blow in the Hornets aspirations for the upcoming year.
On the other side, the Chicago Bulls enter this season with an even worst record from last year, with 22 wins and 60 losses.
However, that record could not be indicative of their potential. Most of the team suffered serious injuries throughout the season, which led them to throw away some games post All-Star break in order to rank higher in the 2019 NBA Draft. Lauri Markkanen and Zach Lavine appear to be in top shape coming into this game, two players that could push to be an All-Star this upcoming season. Otto Porter Jr, who was traded mid-seasom from Washington to Chicago provided much needed help at the forward position, posting 17.5 points per game along with 5.5 rebounds.
Markkanen enjoyed the training camp, stating that the team is ready for the season opener. "I think we've come together. Playing the right way, make the extra pass. Playing unselfish basketball, that's what we're looking for, and I think that's going to be our game. We're trying to play fast and shoot a lot of 3s and share the ball. It should be fun."
Chicago is a dark-horse this season to make the playoffs in the weakened Eastern Conference. The only problem they have is staying healthy, something that didn't occur in the last few seasons within the Bulls organization.
Chicago to win @1.60 and Chicago -3.5 @1.88 are both worth it at this point. Even though it's the first game of the season and anything can happen, Chicago has a higher ceiling than the Hornets and could run away with a win at the Spectrum Center.
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