LaVine's Improved Defense, Carter Jr. Returns, Hoping for a Hot Start, and Other Bulls Bullets

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LaVine’s Improved Defense, Carter Jr. Returns, Hoping for a Hot Start, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls are making me so gosh darn optimistic … I’m scared. For myself.

During this offseason, the Bulls have looked like an entirely new team. I’m trying not to read too much into it, but momentum can be one heck of a tool. And if the Bulls can end the preseason on the right note (this Thursday against the Atlanta Hawks), they could be in seriously good shape as they start a regular-season schedule where four of the first five games are against teams who missed the playoffs last season.


  • Last night, the Chicago Bulls snatched their first preseason victory (105-91) over the Toronto Raptors behind a 26-point performance by Zach LaVine. Similar to what the Bulls did in Indiana this past week, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse decided to rest the majority of his starters. Still, while the competition was weak, the Bulls took care of business as a competent team should, and, boy, did it have its moments.

  • MY GOODNESS! I think I saw this in a dream once! It may have happened at Tune Stadium, and I might have also had fish sticks for fingers … but that’s beside the point! Tomas Satoransky dishing out alley-oops to LaVine is absolutely the type of content I’m here for. The acrobatic finish by LaVine is quite satisfying, but the pass from Satoransky shouldn’t be overlooked. In motion, practically at full speed, Sato’s able to spot LaVine and lob up a dime. Announce this man as the starter already.
  • Anyway, back to LaVine for a moment. This guy has been on an absolute tear this preseason. Check out his highlights from last night’s game:

  • LaVine is getting buckets – as he does – but his three-point shooting and defensive mindset is on another level right now. By no mean is he looking like a lockdown defender, but after exposing his lack of aggression on the defensive end last season, LaVine is looking like a fighter on both ends of the court this fall. The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry has a great section on LaVine in his latest article, and I recommend checking it out. LaVine is shooting 57.9(!) percent from downtown in the preseason and has a preseason team-high +32. No more mister Not All-Star.
  • For more LaVine content, because you can never have enough, The Athletic’s Stephen Noh brokedown why LaVine is All-Star bound this upcoming season. With All-Star weekend in Chicago this year, nothing would be cooler than seeing that man on the court (and in the dunk contest, duh).
  • Photos of a Bulls victory!

  • Why is Thaddeus Young so important to this team? This is why. The Sun-Times wrote about Young’s relentless pursuit to improve this team’s defensive play. The squad appears to have the offensive gameplan figured out, but we’re still waiting to see as noticeable of improvement on the defensive end.
  • Wendell Carter Jr. finally returned to action last night on a minutes restriction. Thank goodness the big man made it back on the court before the start of the regular season because there was some noticeable rust. Carter Jr. has been outspoken this offseason about his intent to help the team out more on the offensive side of the ball, but last night’s 1-6 performance from the field shows he needs to get back in the NBA groove first.

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.