“I just want watchable basketball!” – That was (probably) you watching the Bulls at some point over the last two seasons, right? Well, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, you got your wish.
In his latest NBA League Pass Rankings, the Bulls fall right atop the list at No. 8. That’s high praise. If you’re looking for an explanation of how these rankings were assembled, check out the first post here. But in short, while it’s fairly subjective, it’s not without merit.
Here’s the Top-10:
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Denver Nuggets
- Dallas Mavericks
- Utah Jazz
- Chicago Bulls
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Sacramento Kings
Note: Lowe always makes sure to remind people these aren’t power rankings, and I feel like I should do the same thing. This is all about fun basketball, not who’s actually going to win the most games.
The Bulls find themselves among some first-class seats, as six of the seven teams preceding the Bulls found their way into the playoffs last season. Five of those teams have an All-Star on the roster while the other two, the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz, have the reigning Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively. Oh, the Jazz also have a guy named Donovan Mitchell.
Possibly even more surprising, the Bulls find themselves one spot ahead of the Zion Williamson led New Orleans Pelicans. A roster that includes the No. 1-overall pick and, basically, then entire 2018-19 Lakers, is apparently no match for Zach LaVine and Co.
Check out what Lowe had to say about the Bulls:
LaVine is the best dunker since prime Vince Carter, with the craziest shot selection this side of JR Smith. My man will take half-turnaround 3s. But his jumper is pretty, and he can go on extended hot streaks.
There is a ton of smart give-and-go improvisation — the winks and nods in tight spaces that make basketball sing — between Otto Porter Jr., Tomas Satoransky and Thaddeus Young. We need a full season of the Lauri Markkanen–Wendell Carter Jr. duo. They could develop into the rare frontcourt pairing in which both members can play inside or outside — allowing them to shift almost randomly and keep defenses guessing.
You’re darn tootin’ LaVine is the best dunker on either side of the Mississippi!
After the four preseason games we’ve seen thus far, the Bulls certainly do feel like one of the most exciting, young teams to watch in the NBA. The new and improved depth added to the roster will keep games energized, and Lowe didn’t even mention the addition of Coby White, who’s been even better than advertised (and certainly quite marketable).
It’s hard to quantify anything when talking about “watchability,” but some of the Bulls preseason stats do backup this claim. The team has taken the 10th most three-pointers this preseason after finishing dead last in the league last season. Through four preseason games, the Bulls are also playing with the 9th-highest PACE in the league at 109.68, whereas last season they finished 20th at 99.30. Combine those two items with a messy Eastern Conference and you’re cooking up something fun. *Poorly done Italian accent* That’s a spicy basketball!
The Bulls will have to keep up these stats (and improve in a number of areas) to live up to this hype, but with a fun four games in the books, the team is on the right track.