Eastern Notes: Hornets, Hunter, Mobley, Cunningham

The free-agent addition of Kelly Oubre Jr. is a key reason why the Hornets are off to a good start the season, Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer writes. Boone also cites the team’s depth, exploring why its success could extend beyond this week.

“We have a very versatile team,” Oubre said. “A group that you can throw any guy in any situation and I strongly believe that we will succeed. It’s the next-man-up mentality, but at the end of the day we are only as good as the next man. So we have to hold each other accountable.”

Oubre struggled in the club’s first game, but the 25-year-old bounced back with a strong performance against Cleveland on Friday: 25 points and three rebounds, shooting 9-of-13 from the floor. He’ll serve as a key cog in the team’s rotation as it looks to make the playoffs this season.

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference:

  • A healthy De’Andre Hunter could be a difference-maker for the Hawks, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic writes. The 23-year-old Hunter is in his third season with the team. He appeared in 23 games last season, averaging 15 points per contest on 48% shooting.
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com examines Evan Mobley‘s debut with the Cavaliers, noting that Mobley finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and six assists in his first NBA contest. “He played outstanding,” teammate Jarrett Allen said. “He did everything and more you can ask a rookie to do in their first game. Seeing stuff like this coming from his first game, it’s a lot of potential. There’s a lot of, ‘Oh, he’s going to be good. He’s going to get this down.’” Mobley, who then followed that up with a 13-point, five-rebound effort in his second game on Friday, has “changed the trajectory of the franchise,” one source told Fedor.
  • Pistons rookie Cade Cunningham isn’t accompanying the team for its three-game road trip, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press tweets. Cunningham will continue rehabbing from an ankle sprain in Detroit. “He’s working. He’s day-to-day, I’m not going to put a timetable on it,” head coach Dwane Casey said. “He’s going to stay here and work while we’re on this trip and make sure he goes through the steps to be ready to play when he’s ready to play.” The Pistons will return home on October 30 for a game against the Magic.
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