The Sky Head To The Finals, The Bulls Are Ready To Play Fast, And Other Bulls Bullets

Don’t get me wrong, I like watching the new Chicago Bulls obliterate teams in the preseason as much as the next guy, but if you’re not following the Chicago Sky yet, you’re missing some of the best basketball in Chicago right now.

Candace Parker and Co. officially took down the No. 1 seeded Connecticut Sun on Wednesday night to punch their ticket to the WNBA Finals. The team will await the winner of the Phoenix Mercury-Las Vegas Aces semifinal matchup, which is currently tied 2-2.

Seriously, the story for this group is all kinds of poetic. WNBA legend Parker decided to come home in January after 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks. She inked a two-year deal with the franchise with the goal to finally get this squad over the Finals hump. Fast forward nine months later, and she has done just that. Even more impressive, the Sky came into the playoffs 6th-overall with an underwhelming 16-16 record. They had to take down the No. 7 seed, No. 3 seed, and No. 1 seed to become only the third team in WNBA history to make the Finals without a regular-season winning record.

So if Coby White, Patrick Williams, DeMar DeRozan, Mo Cheeks, Scottie Pippen, and Chance the Rapper are all turning in, so should you. The Finals start Sunday on ABC!

•   I’m 43 percent sure the Chicago Bulls were playing on an airport moving sidewalk on Tuesday night. Head coach Billy Donovan stressed during Media Day that he wanted this Bulls squad to play faster. It was a style of play Donovan embraced with Zach LaVine and Coby White during much of the 2020-21 campaign, with the Bulls ranking 8th in PACE over their first 43 games, per NBA Stats. However, once the trade deadline hit and Nikola Vucevic came to town, the team’s ability to get up and down the court drastically declined. How drastically, you ask? The team’s PACE fell to 25th in the NBA post-trade deadline, and I think a stat like that only further emphasizes the difficult adjustment this team had to make over the final stretch.

“We are going to have to play faster. I think DeMar and Zach are two players that in the open floor and in open spare are really really terrific offensive players,” Donovan said at Media Day. “So we’re going to have to play faster … Lonzo, to me, as good as an advanced passer as there is. And I think in order to play to his strengths we got to get out to enable him to get his passing into the game.”

•   Now, with a full offseason to re-invent the roster around the organization’s preferred style of play, the speed is back on (Chicago got up 109 shots in Game 1 … which was more than in any game last season). Lonzo Ball was the catalyst for this high-speed transition offense on Tuesday (to no one’s surprise) and LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Alex Caruso looked more than comfortable. In fact, the only question mark in this system should be big man Nikola Vucevic. Time and again he was (expectedly) the last man up the floor, and it will be important to watch how Donovan deals with this in certain situations throughout the season. The good news is that Vucevic is one of the better shooting centers in the league, so while his lumbering presence may hurt the teams at times, he can at least hit the kick-out bucket.

•   I also can’t believe the Bulls looked as good as they did on Tuesday WITHOUT four rotation players. Again, I know it was just one measly preseason win, but it’s so encouraging to know the talent level on the court is only going to improve. Coby White, Patrick Williams, Derrick Jones Jr., and Tony Bradley are all reserves who project to be vital to this second unit. Not to mention, all should fit into the style of play we saw on both ends of the floor well upon their return.

•   We talked about defense a lot in Wednesday’s bullets, so I’ll keep this brief: I’m encouraged that everyone looked as engaged as they did without three of the team’s best defenders on the floor. Williams, Jones, and Bradley are each going to bolster this group’s rim protection somewhat significantly, but will their presence make the rest of the roster let down their guard a bit? Let’s hope not.

•   FWIW: I also think DeRozan best summed up what the Bulls’ defensive identity will have to be this season. The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry shared the snippet in his latest article, and I encourage you to give that a read.

“We were just all over the place,” said DeRozan. “We made an emphasis this week. Nothing’s going to be perfect. But we’ve got to have one another’s back, and that was big that we went out there and we scrambled. We tried to help each other out. We tried to cause a little havoc and just be all over the place and we did that.”

•   Exactly. No one is denying that this team lacks elite defensive talent, but no one is also denying that solid defense is going to be pivotal in turning this group into a real winner. Buying into the “chaotic” and “scrappy” defensive mindset could do this long and athletic team a lot of good. They don’t have to be the most physical or the most fundamentally sound, they just have to use their athleticism to get opposing teams out of a rhythm.

•   Good read on all things Nikola Vucevic!

•   Get poked.

•   PRESEASON BASKETBALL BABY!!

•   I think Jarrett Allen needs to be forced to retire.

•   BEAT. THE. RAIDERS.

•   Hey, that’s cool!

written by

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

more bulls news

NBA Cup Thoughts, Vucevic is Crashing the Offensive Glass, a Decisive Offense, and Other Bulls Bullets

I swear, if anyone ever uses an In-Season Tournament Championship in a Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James debate ... https://twitter.com/espn/status/1733709416606638514?s=20 In fitting fashion, the Los Angeles Lakers claimed the first-ever NBA Cup on Saturday night. One of the NBA's marquee...

Another Win, Torrey Craig Comes Up Big, Is Patrick Williams Turning a Corner? And Other Bulls Bullets

Four in a row. Let me first make one thing clear, beating the San Antonio Spurs is nothing to rave about. Gregg Popovich's team has now tied a franchise-worst record with a 16-game losing streak. Andrew Lopez of ESPN also...

Enhanced Box Score: Bulls 121, Spurs 112 – December 8, 2023

Despite a trip to warmer weather, the Chicago Bulls returned to their ice-cold ways in San Antonio. While the ball movement and pace seemed to reflect the progress we've seen over this three-game win streak, the shotmaking wasn't there in...

Alex Caruso Leaves Matchup with Spurs Due to Injury

Alex Caruso was forced to exit Friday night's game against the San Antonio Spurs due to a new injury. According to the team, Caruso sustained a left ankle injury. The guard needed help by training staff on his way back...

Coby White Wants to Start the Alex Caruso All-Star Campaign

Coby White wants to see Alex Caruso in Indianapolis this February. The point guard raved about his backcourt teammate after the Chicago Bulls' victory over the Charlotte Hornets earlier this week. Asked whether or not he believed that Caruso deserved...

Chicago Bulls to Give Out Player-Designed Jerseys at Upcoming Games

The Chicago Bulls officially unveiled their new player-designed jerseys on Friday morning. Initially announced when tickets went on sale back in September, the new promotional event will provide those fans who attend seven upcoming games with quite the giveaway. Zach...

Going for Four in a Row, First Battle With Wemby, DeRozan and the Knicks? And Other Bulls Bullets

The Chicago Bulls will go for their fourth consecutive victory tonight. If they can pull it off, it would be their first four-game win streak since February of 2022 – aka two seasons ago. I know ... sad! Nothing would be...

Zach LaVine Addresses the Injury and Questions of His Commitment to the Bulls

Zach LaVine met with the media today for the first time since last night's announcement that he'd be out for up to 3-4 weeks. Naturally, speculation began to run around that the Bulls and LaVine were committed to keeping the...

The Zach LaVine News, Three Wins in a Row, Playing Team Basketball, and Other Bulls Bullets

Despite not suiting up on Wednesday night, Zach LaVine stole the show. The Chicago Bulls announced that the two-time All-Star will stay in street clothes for an extra 3-4 weeks due to his right foot injury. We gave our instant...

Zach LaVine Now Out Additional 3-4 Weeks, Bulls Announce

Zach LaVine isn't returning to the floor any time soon. The Chicago Bulls announced after Wednesday night's victory that the two-time All-Star will sit out an additional 3-4 weeks due to his right foot injury. The news comes after the...

Latest News

Best NBA Prop Bets Today – December 11, 2023

The NBA's 13-game lineup today should provide some fireworks. The outings include the Cleveland Cavaliers playing the Orlando Magic at Amway Center.If you're looking for NBA prop bets for today's games, we're here to help. Below you'll find NBA player...

76ers vs. Wizards: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Washington Wizards (3-18) hope to halt a three-game road losing skid at the Philadelphia 76ers (14-7) on Monday, December 11, 2023 at 7:00 PM ET.In their most recent outing on Friday, the 76ers claimed a 125-114 win against the...

Big West Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | December 11

Just one Big West game is on Monday's college basketball slate, and we have your best bets information below. That matchup is the Utah Tech Trailblazers taking on the CSU Northridge Matadors at Matadome.How to Bet on Big West Games[lasso...

CAA Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | December 11

The Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens and the Robert Morris Colonials hit the court for the only game on Monday's college basketball schedule with CAA teams. Want best bets information? You've come to the right place.How to Bet on CAA Games[lasso...

SoCon Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | December 11

Only one SoCon game is on Monday's college basketball slate. That matchup is the Alabama A&M Bulldogs squaring off against the Samford Bulldogs at Pete Hanna Center, and we have best bets recommendations across the board.How to Bet on SoCon...

MAAC Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | December 11

MAAC squads are on Monday's college basketball schedule for one game, the Yale Bulldogs playing the Quinnipiac Bobcats, and best bets tips are below.How to Bet on MAAC Games[lasso ref="draftkings-promo-1" id="299003" link_id="933439"]Best MAAC Spread Bet Today: Quinnipiac vs. YaleThe model...

NEC Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | December 11

The Stonehill Skyhawks versus the New Hampshire Wildcats is one of two games on the Monday college basketball slate that has an NEC team. If you look below, you can see our best bets for that conference action.How to Bet...

SWAC Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | December 11

SWAC teams are on Monday's college basketball schedule for two games, including the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils squaring off against the Gonzaga Bulldogs, and best bets tips are below.How to Bet on SWAC Games[lasso ref="draftkings-promo-1" id="299003" link_id="933437"]Best SWAC Spread...

It’s Possible Cody Bellinger is Visiting Toronto Right Now

We knew that the Toronto Blue Jays, who are in a pretty extreme win-right-now moment, would move on to other offensive pursuits after missing out on Shohei Ohtani. We didn't necessarily know it would be IMMMMMMEDIATE and Cody Bellinger. But...

America East Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | December 11

The Stonehill Skyhawks versus the New Hampshire Wildcats is the only game on Monday's college basketball slate that includes a America East team on the court, and we've got best bets tips for you.How to Bet on America East Games[lasso...

more bulls news