LaVine's Team USA Jersey Number, Patrick Williams' Offense, Celtics HC Hire, and Other Bulls Bullets

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LaVine’s Team USA Jersey Number, Patrick Williams’ Offense, Celtics HC Hire, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Our little boy is all grown up [sheds a single tear in the shape of a basketball].

•   Team USA has officially revealed its 12-man roster for the Tokyo Olympics and practices will start in Las Vegas as soon as next week. According to NBA dot com, a training camp with begin on July 6th, and a five-game exhibition series that starts on July 10th will follow. LaVine will wear No. 5 as opposed to his normal No. 8, which will be sported by Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton.

•   We also learned that Gregg Popovich will, once again, serve as head coach, and he will be accompanied by a rather stacked coaching staff that features Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, former Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce, and Villanova head coach Jay Wright.

•   We have half-joked numerous times about LaVine’s ability to recruit his fellow Team USA members to the Chicago Bulls, but we do have to consider the alternative. While it’s a much less fun thing to think about, LaVine is the one joining a roster filled with superstars who are currently in better situations. LaVine is also the one who has his contract expiring after the upcoming season. There is no question several players on the roster will know that, and you never know the kind of conversations that can revolve around that point. The good news is that I do believe LaVine is committed to Chicago. He seems interested in building a winner with the Bulls, and recent moves like hiring Billy Donovan and trading for Nikola Vucevic appear to have made a strong impression on him. At the same time, we also know how fast things can change in this league. Another underwhelming season and LaVine could suddenly think seriously about those talks he had in Tokyo.

•   Also, someone please send me a link to a Team USA LaVine jersey and take my money.

•   Everyone on Team USA will come prepared with a PowerPoint presentation on why Lillard should join their team.

•   Bulls dot com’s Sam Smith wrote about Patrick Williams in his recent mailbag, and I think he summed up Williams needs to realize on this offseason quite well:

Perhaps focusing too much on his poster, Williams seemed to get the idea that “making the right play” is what the NBA is about. No, it’s about taking advantage of the mismatch you might have and putting the ball in the basket. That’s the right play! Most of the things they add up are points. I believe Williams will eventually get it and will be one of the top five players from this draft. I just hope someone tells him enough with the making the right play thing. The right play when one of those little guards is on you, which is what most teams began doing to Williams last season, is flattening him like in the cartoons when they get hit by a steamroller. That’s who Patrick Williams can be.

•   I’m all for making the right play. But sometimes the “right play” is actually the “forced play.” In other words, sometimes it is simply best for everyone to have the most talented player on the court hunt his shot. Williams has all the tools to be a physically dominant offensive player. Time and again we saw him pass up the open looks or hesitate to drive all the way to the rim. That decision-making is all the more frustrating when we consider his overall solid scoring efficiency. Sure, it may have been on low volume, but Williams shot above 40 percent on mid-range shots and 3-pointers. Those numbers justify being more offensively aggressive, but Williams mostly refused to take that step last season. Heading into Year 2, Donovan and Co. have to get him to understand that the team is better when he plays a little more selfishly.

•   Ime Udoka and Will Hardy have been two of the top assistants over the last several seasons. Two great pick-ups for the Brad Stevens-led Celtics.

•   We want Porter-Mirotic 2 on pay-per-view!

•   I never know if I should say good things about the Bucks, but this is awesome stuff from Giannis. You love this mentality from a player. Shake it off and get better.

•   Get in line, bud.

•   WNBA leading by example. You love to see it.


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Author: Elias Schuster

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