The Bulls tip-off the regular season on the road against the Charlotte Hornets one week from today! And, guys, the Hornets are bad! What if the Bulls actually start the season off with a win? Wow, I can’t wait to overreact!
- Obvious statement: The Bulls need to play better defense. As a team last season, the Bulls had the 5th-worst defense rating in the league (113.2). Normally, it’s hard to see significant improvement on that side of the ball over the course of one offseason, but the Bulls might actually be making some serious strides. The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry wrote about what the team has been doing behind the scenes to get in a better defensive groove. According to Mayberry, Boylen’s top focus is currently on individual defense, which includes containing your man for at least two-dribbles, stopping straight-drives to the hoop and forcing contested 2’s. I recommend giving Mayberry’s piece a read for more detail, good stuff.
- Another major reason for a (potentially) improved defense – Thaddeus Young: “We know that defense is going to win games. I’m just that voice that’s going to keep putting it into the guys’ heads that we’re going to have to keep playing defense in order to win games. Yeah, we can score 120-130 points. But at the end of the day, if we don’t play any defense you’re not going to win.’’
- Here’s some content you definitely need:
- Real Talk: Why haven’t we seen more of this Lauri!? I feel like the Bulls haven’t effectively tapped into his obvious marketability yet. He can be one heck of an entertaining guy, and I know it might sound silly, but a bunch of little things like this can go a long way in promoting your stars (and dare I say it … attracting other stars in the future).
- The Athletic’s John Hollinger is pretty high on the Chicago Bulls. In his most recent NBA Division Preview, he put the Bulls at 40-42 record. He also predicts the team will claim the No. 8 seed in the playoffs thanks to their healthy young core, size advantage, and basketball IQ. Hey, I’ll take that, I guess.
- I don’t know how it’s possible, but the hype for Zach LaVine is almost as real as the disrespect. It tends to be a rather polarizing conversation, but if the last season combined with this preseason is any indication, he seems to be on the fast track toward his first All-Star appearance. On the latest Bulls Talk Podcast, they dive further into his ceiling.
- Zach LaVine’s comments in a Sun-Times article have sparked a larger debate on the downfall of the mid-range game. After ESPN’s The Jump had their own discussion on the matter, Kevin Durant chimed in to give his thoughts. For a good overview of what went down, check out NBC Sports Chicago’s article. It’s an interesting basketball discussion, but I think the answer is actually simple … if you can make them, take them? I totally understand going for more three-pointers or a higher percentage shot in the paint, but if you’re an elite shotmaker, it’s fair game. I don’t think an offensive scheme in today’s game should be organized around mid-range shots by any means, but if you have a player who’s proven to be surprisingly consistent at it, let him have it.
- Jordan layups >>>>>>
- The Windy City Bulls are making moves. The Bulls G-League affiliate acquired a couple picks in return for the right to Walt Lemon Jr. The move makes sense for the Indiana Pacers G-League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, after the Pacers signed former-Bull Walt Lemon Jr. to a contract this offseason. Interesting enough, Lemon Jr. is now the second Bulls/Windy City Bulls player the Pacers have signed – JaKarr Sampson is also under contract.
- CARSEN EDWARDS WENT OFF!