I have two thoughts on Fourth of July firework shows that I simply need to get off my chest:
(1) The amount of people who fail to recognize the show is not over after that first 10-second gap between fireworks is shocking. We do this everything year, people. That one singular smile face firework was not the end. Trust me, you will know when it’s over.
(2) Why are we clapping? The fireworks can’t hear you. They blew up into tons of tiny colorful pieces, remember?
Ok. I’m done being sassy. Go ‘Merica. Let’s talk about basketball.
• One night after hitting the game-winner against the heavy-favorite Team Canada, Tomas Satoransky helped the Czech Republic takedown Greece in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament Finals. The Czech Republic will now head to the Olympics for the first time in its history, which means Bulls fans can now have one more player to root for when games tip-off later this month.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) July 5, 2021
• Satoransky finished with 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists in his squad’s dominant victory over Greece. And while the outing may not have been his biggest performance of the tournament, it did not need to be for him to take home MVP honors. The 29-year-old was honored for his leadership and steady play after the win with the Tissot MVP award. Over the four-game tourney, Satoransky averaged 16.5 points 5.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists.
— FIBA (@FIBA) July 5, 2021
• What is most exciting about all of this is that Bulls fans will now get to watch two teammates go head-to-head! Sure, it’s unclear exactly how much time Zach LaVine will get on this stacked Team USA roster, but it is clear that Team USA will play the Czech Republic in the first round of the Olympics. The victory for Satoransky’s home country meant a spot in Group A, which also contains France, Iran, and the USA. Here’s a look at all three groups:
— FIBA (@FIBA) July 5, 2021
• Team USA will first match up with France on July 25th. Following that will be a meeting with Iran on July 28th before they meet with the Czech Republic on July 31st. The teams that finish first and second in each group will move onto the quarterfinal round, as well as the top-2 third-place teams in the entire group stage.
• To absolutely no one’s surprise, Team USA sits comfortably at the top of the FIBA Rankings. Team Spain (Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio) sits on an island of their own in second place followed by Team Australia (Joe Ingles, Patty Mills, Matisse Thybulle) and Team Argentina (Facundo Campazzo, Luis Scola). We’ll look closer at Team USA’s fiercest competition in the coming weeks, but if you’re curious about the rankings click here. Full roster information you can find here.
• The more I think about the 2021 NBA season, the more I think about how close the Chicago Bulls could be to pulling off something shocking. Look, I’m not about to get my hopes up for a magical Finals run next season, but we were reminded this year of how fast things can change in the NBA. The final four teams were all organizations that have either never won a championship (Suns/Clippers) or have gone 38+ years without hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy (Bucks/76ers). During the regular season, the Jazz finished with the best record, the Lakers ended up in the play-in tournament, the Nets Big 3 only played 202 minutes together, and the freakin’ New York Knicks finished 4th in the East. You never quite know when luck can finally strike!
• Not to mention, with Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic at the center of this team, it does feel like the Bulls have a nucleus that could take advantage when that lucky door opens. We still need to see more work done on the roster this offseason, but I’m not sure the last time I will walk into a new Bulls season this playfully optimistic.
• I noticed this immediately after the Milwaukee Bucks punched their Finals ticket, and I think it said a lot.
PJ Tucker said that while some teams have champagne showers and celebrations when they earn a trip to the Finals, the Bucks did not.
“We ain’t done nothing yet,” he said.
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) July 4, 2021
• Even when the final buzzer sounded, the entire team’s reaction to making the big dance was surprisingly tamed. The Bucks gave off a feeling of dissatisfaction and hunger. Meanwhile, the Suns looked awfully content. I’m not saying there is a wrong way to celebrate (except maybe coach burning?), but I do think the way a team goes about it could give us a sneak peek into their headspace. The Bucks will head into Tuesday’s game feeling like it’s where they were meant to be. The Suns could walk in on an absolute high. Will Phoenix be the actual deer in headlights?
• It was only a matter of time.
Nate McMillan and the Atlanta Hawks have an agreement in place for McMillan to be the team's permanent head coach.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 5, 2021
• I like dunks …
The best dunks we saw at the NBA Combine in Chicago pic.twitter.com/1y7ey4AuL3
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) July 3, 2021
• … especially these dunks …
— Chicago Bulls Archive (@BullsArchive) July 5, 2021