It didn't take long for Eric Bledsoe to repay his creditors. Literally, hours removed from signing a four-year, $70 million contract extension, Bledsoe played the hero last night as the Milwaukee Bucks overcame the fledgling Los Angeles Lakers to clinch a berth, this early in the NBA Season. Bledsoe's stat line displayed 31 points, 5 assists, and 9 rebounds, in a perfectly symmetrical 31 minutes of action, all to reify the good faith they've shown their quote-unquote "team leader."

In truth, the Milwaukee Bucks are going to need Bledsoe and others to perform above expectation, if they are to joust with the multi-headed monsters in the East who currently stand below them in the standings. Therein lies the probable misconception: many NBA pundits are holding out for teams like the 76ers and the Boston Celtics to "show their true colors," when it's actually the Milwaukee Bucks passing the eye-test as the most formidable team in the conference, for a variety of reasons.

For starters, Giannis is going to get his buckets no matter who's defending the fort. When the "Greek Freak" is on the floor, the game of basketball becomes a game of attrition for the opponent. Over on the Western side of things, the Los Angeles Lakers must find a way to overcome a 4-point deficit just to clinch the 8th spot in the conference. Simply put, the teams the lie ahead of them in the standings, are simply far better constructed, but LeBron hasn't given up hope just yet. For what it's worth, the final score in last night's contest read: Milwaukee 131-120 Los Angeles, by the final buzzer.