While I was happy to see my Illini get the W last Saturday, college football is officially back this weekend.
I plan to channel those college vibes by taking a shot (or two … or three … or … you get the point), wearing a floral short-sleeved button-up, eating ramen at an odd hour, and procrastinating to do my work. Sorry, Brett!
• Arturas Karnisovas’ latest report card is borderline fridge-worthy. The Athletic’s Zach Harper handed the Bulls a B- for their efforts this summer, a grade that seems to suggest relative optimism in the regular season that rests ahead. Considering this roster still has to demonstrate it can build the appropriate chemistry on the floor, I can live with this assessment, but I also think the absence of two key points from Harper’s article could play a role in at least removing that minus from his letter grade.
• First of all, when recapping Chicago’s end to the 2020-21 season, Zach LaVine missing practically two straight weeks due to a positive COVID diagnosis was not mentioned. Far too often I have seen people point toward the Bulls missing the playoffs post-Vucevic trade as a reason to be skeptical of the acquisition altogether, but LaVine went on to miss 14 of the remaining 29 games after his All-Star center arrived on March 25th. Would his presence have guaranteed the Bulls a play-in spot and potentially a playoff spot? No, but it would have certainly improved their chances, and thus improved the perception of the tandem/team around the league. Harper also pointed toward the Bulls’ offense getting worse after the Vucevic trade, but I think that is to be expected after one of the best scorers in the league was sidelined for two pivotal weeks.
• Chicago is also knocked for giving up too much draft compensation. Now, if you’re going to knock the front office for anything, this is probably the area to hit. Two first-rounders for Vucevic – one of which already turned into a No. 8 pick – is not a cheap price to pay. Then, throw in the fact Chicago gave the Spurs a first-rounder simply for the right to overpay DeMar DeRozan, and there is a bad taste in your mouth. However, I think it’s important to note Chicago was able to make up for that loss with the Lauri Markkanen sign-and-trade. The Bulls got a lottery-protected 1st-rounder from the Trail Blazers (one that can convey until 2028) to go along with a second-rounder and Derrick Jones Jr. All things considered, that is more than anyone thought Karnisovas could get this late in free agency.
TPE is actually roughy $5mil! Originally thought to be $8.3 early on but S&T rules mean Bulls can only take back as much as Theis’ 20-21 salary. This was a good catch.
Still major W. https://t.co/5xtqfabiQJ
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) August 27, 2021
• Again, I do not think a B- is anything to get too upset about. If anything, it is still higher than some have been willing to go this summer. But I do think the two things shared above must be factored into the equation, and I think both are enough to help make this offseason at least a B. If we are looking at this from the perspective of, “how improved is this roster,” there is no question the Bulls – on paper – are one of the most improved squads in the league. The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry does a good job highlighting that in his portion of Harper’s post. Make sure to read below!
— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) September 3, 2021
• Also, shoutout Harper for writing that the Bulls got a steal in Ayo Dosunmu in the second round. Agree to agree! I have no doubt it will be a relatively slow build for the rookie, but he does possess the IQ, work ethic, and versatility to carve himself out a future role-playing spot at this level. I’m excited to see how much he can learn on this revamped roster, especially with a midrange scorer like DeRozan and defenders like Ball/Caruso in the mix.
• Speaking of midrange buckets, DeRozan plans to keep feasting on them.
In a League that Lives by the Three, DeMar DeRozan Chooses to Play His Gamehttps://t.co/P4uuACHkar
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) September 2, 2021
• It’s about damn time. I can’t wait to see the Croatian Sensation get his flowers, and it will be very cool to see Michael Jordan there to present him.
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) September 2, 2021
• Think about someone telling you they have game-used Michael Jordan apparel … only to pull out his underwear.
• LeBron James’ defensive accolades: 5x All-Defensive First Team and 1x All-Defensive Second Team. Just saying.
• So … start him!
• Well, that will make things interesting again.
Rejoice! NHL Players Are Heading Back to the Winter Olympicshttps://t.co/KkWDma6rUe
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) September 3, 2021
• The Cubs have got to keep someone, right?
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) September 3, 2021