The Las Vegas Knights had a ridiculous pre-game show for their fans before the home-opener last night.
It was the kind of modern-day performance that made me think about how funny it would be to hop in a time machine, grab someone from 1864, and plant them in the arena for the experience. WHAT IS THIS BLACK MAGIC!!!???
Well, this is incredible pic.twitter.com/sB6y5IqAwr
— Jesse Granger (@JesseGranger_) October 13, 2021
• Winning is most important … but being super fun to watch is a close second! The Chicago Bulls took a step in the right direction last year in terms of “watchability.” We can mostly thank an All-Star campaign from Zach LaVine and an aggressive trade deadline from the front office for that. But the team should still see their entertainment factor skyrocket this season after one of the most active free agencies in franchise history. Not only has the preseason shown us the potential of this athletic and offensively-gifted starting unit, but we saw high-energy and scrappy play from a bench full of intriguing reserves. For the first time in half a decade, it feels like the organization is headed in a competitive and fun direction, which is why ESPN’s Zach Lowe couldn’t help but throw them in the Top-10 of his annual “League Pass Rankings.”
Free for everyone/no subscription required: The 10th Annual League Pass Rankings, Nos. 10-1. The algorithm broke: https://t.co/a2RwRruo6P
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) October 13, 2021
• Chicago checks in right behind the Atlanta Hawks and right in front of the New Orleans Pelicans at No. 8. Lowe pointed toward the potentially electric combination of Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine (I still can’t believe they got a real point guard!), as well as the chemistry-building that will need to take place with DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic, as a big reason why this Bulls squad should be one of the most intriguing to watch in the NBA. Overall, I have absolutely no complaints. Chicago is viewed as a must-watch team – regardless of the expected outcome – for the first time in quite some time. And, for that, I’m satisfied.
• Lowe also tagged Patrick Williams as one of the most important young players, which I think is something we should briefly digest. First of all, I don’t disagree. The Bulls sacrificed a tremendous amount of draft capital to build the roster we see today. A large reason for that was likely due to the ascension of Mr. LaVine. With unrestricted free agency heading his way in 2022, the goal was to show the 26-year-old that Chicago could not only turn the tide but become an aggressive organization that strives for sustained success. On paper, they have done that thus far, but can they continue to do that? How can the franchise continue to fill gaps on the roster with so few draft assets to trade? It’s a fair and relatively big question, but it can be totally forgotten if Williams reaches his full potential.
• If Williams turns into the two-way powerhouse this organization envisions, he could become the perfect bridge from one LaVine era to another. In other words, Williams (along with Ball) could be the glue that holds everything together as DeRozan and Vucevic continue to age. If he fails to materialize, however, Chicago could soon be faced with a tough task. What star do they have to compliment LaVine or keep free agents interested in the organization? What young, high-upside piece do they have to build around (remember, they will not and not be drafting one in the lottery)?
• Now, with all that said, I actually think the front office has greatly helped themselves on the Williams front this offseason. With the acquisition of multiple veterans and another young piece in Ball, they have taken an immense amount of immediate pressure off of Williams’ shoulder. The need for him to take a giant leap on both ends of the court for this team to find success to satisfy LaVine this season is somewhat gone. Instead, he will be able to focus more on his development while playing around three All-Stars and (hopefully) experiencing winning basketball. While I value the experience he had last season as a full-time starter, it’s this kind of more polished environment where players like Williams (who is still one of the youngest in the league) learn the most. I’m a huge believer in a team’s environment and situation when it comes to shaping young talent (arguably more than playing time), and there is no question the Bulls have greatly improved on those fronts.
• Speaking of Williams, K.C. Johnson also touched on him in his latest mailbag. Good read!
Discussing Patrick Williams' upside, Bulls' best pick-and-roll duo.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) October 13, 2021
• The question about the team’s best pick-and-roll duos is also a great one. I will not step on Johnson’s mailbag, but I would agree that LaVine and Vucevic will probably be the best combination, but a DeRozan-Vucevic combo with spacing from LaVine and Ball is going to be all kinds of fun as well. I honestly want to see even more of that in the final preseason game.
• *points to chest*
Where yo heart 💂🏾♀️? Where yo soul at? #FMF
— whitecoby2 (@CobyWhite) October 13, 2021
• I can’t even imagine how loud the Philly fans will boo if he steps back on the court. We might need to break out the seismographs.
Ben Simmons passed his physical and held a brief meeting with the Sixers front office on Tuesday, but remains ineligible to participate in team-related activities until Friday due to NBA health and safety protocols, sources told ESPN. https://t.co/cfK1MpKs0O
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) October 13, 2021
• Let’s hope this doesn’t become a trend.
Celtics center Al Horford has tested positive for COVID-19, the team says. Both he and Jaylen Brown are now in the protocols after testing positive.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) October 12, 2021
• Um, so this is an absolutely wild story.
Running the Trail Blazers and Jordan Brand, Larry Miller rose to the top of the basketball world.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 13, 2021
• THE BLACKHAWKS START THEIR SEASON TONIGHT AND THE RUMORS ARE ALREADY FLOWING (sorry for yelling)!
According to multiple reports, the Blackhawks are listening to potential offers for forward Dylan Strome. https://t.co/5w4wu586Ke
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) October 13, 2021
• We all know the Bears love their tight ends.
Hosting five tight ends for tryouts isn’t something I had on my Bears BINGO card for 2021, but there was a wave of fresh faces at Halas Hall. https://t.co/6eyW2JVRKI
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) October 13, 2021