I walked into last night’s Illinois-Wisconsin game with high hopes. I left with shards of hope, and a couple of pieces of disgust, in my hands.
At least we have the 5-1 Bears … and maybe the Bulls soon!
• ICYMI: The NBA might be back quicker than we thought. After a Christmas Day start for the 2020-21 season felt further and further out of the realm of possibility, the NBA surprised us with a proposed December 22nd tip-off. Having a chunk of fans in the arena was the motivating factor for a delayed start, but with the pandemic still in full force, it appears the NBA is ready to give up on that dream. Not to mention, after trying a summer stint – albeit a chaotic one – most seem to believe sticking as close to the original NBA calendar is in the league’s best interest:
NBA and NBPA have been in conversations about the Dec. 22 proposal. It’s been important for teams and players to get back on a normal schedule, allow players to receive their summers. Dialogue will continue. https://t.co/EgHrlH2SrZ
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 23, 2020
• I once thought this would be a great opportunity for the league to really mix things up and try something new, but with so much money down the drain, that isn’t a risk worth taking. The NBA has thrived during the winter months, specifically the holiday season, and players also like to have most of their summer off (I’m sure media and league employees do, as well). Anyway, this start date is not yet final. Not only will the NBPA have to approve, but several other major logistical conversations will have to take place to pull off such a quick turnaround.
• ESPN decided to write out the best-case and worst-case scenario for the Delete Eight teams in the 2020-21 season. As we touched on yesterday, Chris Herring said a fully healthy season with a competitive fight for the No. 8 seed would be just what the Bulls are looking for. He also mentioned improved play in the clutch, which most definitely feels like something we should keep an eye on next season: “The Bulls were one of the NBA’s worst teams in close games last season, as Zach LaVine often played with tunnel vision in putting the club on his shoulders late. By contrast, the Thunder, who were led by new Bulls coach Billy Donovan, finished with a league-high 30 clutch victories during the regular season.”
• Billy Donovan is a disciplined head coach who has proven he can get his team to play inspired basketball. I’m not saying improved clutch play is based entirely on confidence and all that jazz, but that kind of stuff sure doesn’t hurt. Jim Boylen’s team played defeated at the end of games. We shouldn’t see that same energy under Donovan.
• In Herring’s worst-case scenario, he said the Bulls fail to give Coby White a real chance to be the team’s lead guard. He knows the way to my heart. See, this exactly the reason I am a tiny bit concerned about drafting a player like Killian Hayes or Tyrese Haliburton. I know this roster is missing a true facilitator, but I don’t want White to get the short end of the stick. He may not be a pass-first guard, but there are plenty of scoring guards around the league who can adequately run point. Can he co-exist with Zach LaVine? We have to find out.
• Did somebody say, Haliburton?
Bulls Will Reportedly “Stay Put” at No. 4 if Avdija is Available, Also Interested in Haliburtonhttps://t.co/atZQqpgo5v
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) October 23, 2020
• NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson also wrote about the point guard conundrum in Chicago, and what drafting a true facilitator could mean for the team moving forward:
Is Coby White a PG or better off ball, even in league trending towards positionless play? Is Zach LaVine the core piece? What about Kris Dunn?
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) October 23, 2020
• Pssssh, I can do that.