One, two, three, four, I declare
a thumb war the preseason final over!
After two matchups with the Cavaliers and one with the New Orleans Pelicans, the Chicago Bulls will look to make it a perfect preseason with a win over the Memphis Grizzlies tonight. Does accomplishing that mean anything? Eh, not really … but winning is always fun!
Memphis Grizzlies at Chicago Bulls at 7:00 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago (TV) and 670 The Score (Radio)
Stream the game online here with your cable provider.
1. Lonzo Ball
2. Zach LaVine
3. DeMar DeRozan
4. Patrick Williams
5. Nikola Vucevic
Inactive: Coby White (shoulder)
1. Ja Morant
2. Desmond Bane
3. John Konchar
4. Jaren Jackson Jr.
5. Steven Adams
Inactive: Kris Dunn OUT (mouth), Dillion Brooks OUT (thigh, hand)
What to Watch For …
• UNLEASH THE PAW! Patrick Williams will make his preseason debut tonight in his first action since suffering a severe ankle injury last month. Donovan told reporters before the game that Williams should play around 18-24 minutes, but he will keep a close eye on up to speed the second-year forward looks.
Pat Williams will likely play between 18-24 minutes in 6-minute segments as he returns from ankle injury tonight, Billy Donovan says.
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) October 15, 2021
Billy Donovan said he expects 18-24 minutes (6-minute spurts) from Patrick Williams in return from sprained ankle. Will be watching his conditioning closely.
Added Tony Bradley will be Nikola Vucevic’s primary backup. Expect first quarter minutes.
— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) October 15, 2021
• The most important thing will be how comfortable and confident Williams looks on that ankle, but we should also keep an eye on how natural his fit is with this new starting unit. He has only two full practices under his belt with his teammates, so is he caught up to speed on the flow of the offense? What about how to best fill his role on the offensive end? Remember, Williams also didn’t play the power forward position full-time last season, so while this may feel like the best spot for him on the court, it will still come with a learning curve.
• I’m also curious to know exactly how many minutes we will see Williams eat with the starters. The regular season is now just five days away, so head coach Billy Donovan may not want his starters to see the 30+ minutes they saw in Game 3 at Cleveland. At the same time, because this is the most healthy the squad has been since training camp has started, maybe Donovan does want to run his game script as close to the opening night plan as possible. We’ll see.
• If one thing is for sure, it’s that Tony Bradley will also see his fair share of action tonight. The projected backup center to Nikola Vucevic should carry a vital role as a rim protector and rim-runner this season, and this game will be the first time he can begin to carve out that role thanks to a full recovery from his back strain.
• One question I have as Bradley returns: What happens to Alize Johnson? While he might be undersized as the position, Johnson has looked great this preseason in small-ball five lineups. I’ll be very curious to see if Donovan continues to tinker with that kind of look when the season starts or if Bradley will consistently be the go-to guy.
• Speaking of Alize, tonight is the last opportunity for players to prove they deserve a roster spot. Alize is best in line to take the team’s 14th chair, but that still leaves the 15th spot and a two-way contract next to Devon Dotson. Stanley Johson, Matt Thomas, and Tyler Cook are the names still left on non-guaranteed training camp deals, so look for Donovan to potentially give all players an extra run tonight as the organization tries to do some last-minute evaluating.