I had myself a jam-packed Memorial Day Weekend, folks. I bought a new car, went to my first Cubs game since 2019, attended a family get-together, attended another family get-together, and ate lots of Italian food for some reason. I’m not sure things could have gone much better, honestly. Life is pretty good right now [gaint anvil falls from sky and crushes me into an accordion].
• In yesterday’s Bulls Bullets, we talked generally about the importance of Patrick Williams’ development. With the acquisition of Nikola Vucevic at the trade deadline, the front office signified that they believe a competitive turnaround can happen sooner than later. LaVine and Vucevic will do a lot of the heavy lifting, but Williams will be a key part of that process. While he didn’t light up the scoreboard this season, he flashed the all-around skills of a high-caliber player and potential star. The sooner he takes a step closer to that level of play, the sooner the Bulls will be taken seriously as a true playoff threat. Whether he is on that playoff team, however, is something I had not thought about.
• Forbes Contributor Jason Patt threw an interesting wrinkle into the Williams discussion. Most of us have gone forward assuming this front office views him as a long-term core member, and while I very much still think that is the case, we all know how fast things can change in the NBA. We never know what superstar players could become available, and thus Patt mentions Williams as a possible trade chip in that hypothetical situation. Considering Williams timeline doesn’t match up all that well with the LaVooch combo (particularly Vucevic, who turns 31 in October), I don’t think this is an absurd thought to have.
— Jason Patt (@Bulls_Jay) June 1, 2021
• Again, I highly doubt the Bulls will trade Williams in the near future. Not only was he the first investment of the new regime, but he started 71 games this season. The commitment to him is clear. At the same time, we can not be surprised if we see Patt’s point increasingly come up in conversation over the next couple of seasons. Superstars randomly become available all the time, and teams with those superstars are normally looking for young players with star potential in return. It’s why we saw Brandon Ingram included in the Anthony Davis trade, and it’s why we have seen Michael Porter Jr. thrown into tons of imaginary trades.
• The Bulls have a high likelihood of heading into the 2021 NBA Draft with zero first-round pick, BUT this is still a very interesting read. Also, as I’ve said before, the Bulls trading into the first-round can not be ruled out. While this draft is pretty top-heavy, and I expect the Bulls to fix most of their problems with more experienced talent in free agency, there are some point guards projected to go in the late first-round that could be interesting snags.
New on ESPN+: Looking at how certain playoff trends could impact 2021 draft prospects. Will Trae Young’s postseason success open the door for slight, skill-based guards? Teams are toggling between big and small lineups. How will Evan Mobley fit in? https://t.co/CwzlfbGVdn
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) June 1, 2021
• The benefits of being a seven-foot human.
Nikola Vucevic was a very good tough shot maker last season:
-57 FG% where a defender was within 2-feet of contesting the shot
-44 FG% when defender was within 2-4 feet of contesting
-36 3P% when defender is within 1-6 feet of contesting from deep pic.twitter.com/32DFvw8CXC
— Pippen Ain't Easy (@BullsBeatBlog) June 1, 2021
• Vucevic is one of those players you begin to respect even more after watching him play every night. His consistency is elite, as is his body control in the paint. No doubt the seven-foot frame helps, but not every seven-footer has his footwork or touch. I’ve been remarkably impressed with his ability to efficiently post up and get the ball out of his hands in an instant. Nearly 70 percent of Vucevic’s shot attempts come with 2 or fewer seconds of touch time, and he has a 56.5 effective field goal percentage on those shots. Those high marks are in large part thanks to his smooth turnaround hook shot, which he took more this season than ever before in his career and knocked down 52.9 percent of the time.
• The first round of the playoffs have had their expected blowouts. The Bucks stomped Jimmy Butler. The Nets have been scrimmaging against the Celtics. And the 76ers, though losing last night, have made pretty easy work of the Wizards. With that said, I still feel like we have more potentially awesome first-round series than normal, right? The Blazers-Nuggets and Lakers-Suns matchups could very well go the distance. And the Clippers have also gotten back into things after Luka Doncic tried to single-handedly crush their souls with a 2-0 start. Also, even though it might be over soon, I’ve loved watching DRose and Taj hoop. It just feels like the league is in a good place (and I hope some dumbass fans start to realize that).
• Speaking of Suns-Lakers, Davis could miss tonight’s game … which is a big deal.
Lakers star Anthony Davis is unlikely to play in Game 5 vs. Suns on Tuesday due to strained groin, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. There’s optimism about Davis‘ status as series continues and as he is evaluated day-to-day.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 31, 2021
• MJ with the “I’ve done this before, and I’ll do it again” fist pump.
24 years ago, MJ hit a game-winning shot to give the Bulls Game 1 of the '97 Finals 😤 pic.twitter.com/UxKrutAA1A
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 1, 2021