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Donovan Thinks LaVine Is a Good Defender, Good Signs for Williams’ Minutes, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

The Bears have been hurting me lately in a very Bulls kind of way.

No doubt, that’s another Chicago organization that needs some big changes in the near future. The path they’re on right now just ain’t it. Lu does an awesome job keeping me semi-sane and covering it all, so make sure you’re following BN Bears on Twitter and Facebook if you aren’t already!

•   The Chicago Bulls had their first official group workout on Sunday, and they’ll have four more this week before playing their first preseason game on Friday night. All things considered, there probably isn’t much we should take away from a singular practice. After all, this was Billy Donovan’s first official day leading the entire team through on-court activities. The interviews from Donovan and Zach LaVine yesterday weren’t necessarily the most fruitful – despite some interesting comments about the style of play, which we plan to talk about later today. We probably should take everything we hear over the next week or so with a grain of salt. Even the preseason can do a poor job at telling us what to expect with a team moving forward. However, none of this means the next couple of weeks can not and will not be super fun! The first two preseason games is basically an open bar. You can try whatever the hell you want and mainly focus on having fun. There are no major implications (well, financially, at least … you’ll probably still wake up hungover with a taste of rum and regret in your mouth).

•   Again, I don’t want to draw too many conclusions from the comments made this early on in training camp, but Donovan did make a couple of interesting remarks about what he’s seen on the defensive end of the ball. Kris Dunn and Shaquille Harrison are gone. Both were probably the team’s best perimeter defenders. And while I think both (Dunn specifically) were the rare beneficiaries of Boylen’s blitzing style of play (which is now gone), they both could still be considered big-ish losses for the Bulls. So, a couple of players will have to step up to maintain competency on this side of the ball. When Donovan was asked about who that might be, he brought up two (perhaps) unexpected names: “I think one of the things we have to evolve out that I’ve been impressed with up until this point in time is Patrick Williams’ ability defensively … He certainly has a lot of tools defensively in terms of his ability to recover and get through screens and get over pick-and-roll, so that’s going to be important for us I think for the growth and development of this team.”

•   Patrick Williams has been praised for his defensive versatility numerous times in the past, but it is reassuring to hear Donovan recognize it this early on. Not to mention, Donovan basically tells us that he hopes to increasingly rely on it over the course of the season, which bodes well for Williams’ minutes. Okay, now the other name Donovan threw into the mix will super surprise you: “Zach, I’ve been really impressed with him. He’s a really good defender on the ball. I think he’s got really, really good on-ball ability. He has got great feet, and he can move.” Excuse me!? Did this man just put “good defender” and “Zach LaVine” in the same sentence? LaVine has claimed in the past this is an area he hopes to improve, so perhaps some extra work is paying off. If so, his chances at finally making an All-Star appearance should go up.

•   It’s just practice. It’s just practice. It’s just practice. It’s just practice … THE ROOK LOOKS SOOOO GOOD!

•   Seriously though, Williams looks like he just flicked a pea. He absorbed Otto Porter’s contact like a pro and brushed him off with ease before perfectly spinning and floating toward the hoop. This video just adds to the impressive footage we’ve seen from the rookie since he was drafted. And, I got to say, those Karnisovas comments about his ball-handling and control being bettered than advertised are holding true. But, I’ll hold my horse. We need to see the man play in an actual game, and there is still no doubt he will hit some bumps in the rookie road.

•   Make ’em dance, Coby.

•   Good find by the Daily Herald’s Mike McGraw. The Chicago Bulls currently have three of the 2018 top-25 high school recruits on their training camp roster. Weird.

•   Just a reminder: We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, and the NBA isn’t in a bubble. We are in very unpredictable territory.

•   Listening to LaVine is always worth it.



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is a writer for Bleacher Nation and a human being. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.