Opening Week is Here, Preseason Highlights Galore, the Sky Win it All, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Opening Week is Here, Preseason Highlights Galore, the Sky Win it All, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls play basketball on Wednesday.

The Chicago Bulls play basketball on Friday.

The Chicago Bulls play basketball on Saturday.

Guys, SO MUCH BASKETBALL!

•   Time for some Monday morning housekeeping! With the season set to start tomorrow night, regular season rosters must be submitted later today while rookie extensions must be finalized by 5:00 p.m. CT, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks. While news from across the league could come in on both fronts throughout the day, it appears the Chicago Bulls did most of their work this weekend. The team decided to waive Stanley Johnson and Troy Baxter Jr. on Saturday morning before announcing that 24-year-old Tyler Cook would receive the organization’s second two-way contract. All three decisions implied that Alize Johnson and Matt Thomas, two players who were on non-guaranteed deals for training camp, locked in the 14th and 15th roster spots for opening night.

•   With the roster intact, technically, the only other line of business Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley could address today is a rookie scale extension for Troy Brown Jr. Drafted in 2018, Brown has seen seven classmates receive an extension this offseason, including Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Jaren Jackson Jr., Michael Porter Jr., Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Robert Williams, Wendell Carter Jr., and Mikal Bridges. The chance of Brown having his name called next is probably slimmer than I was my freshman year of high school (I used to be incredibly scrawny, folks). While he may still possess intriguing upside as a two-way wing who is just 22 years old, he still has yet to prove he can hold a firm rotational role on a winning team. The good news for Brown, however, is that it looks like he will get that opportunity this season. The front office snatching him at the trade deadline last season suggested a belief in his future development, and his consistent role in the preseason (played the 7th-most minutes) only reiterated that belief.

•   In fact, I think HoopsHype may want to adjust their Bulls rotation. The site currently lists Troy Brown Jr. as the third-string small forward behind Javonte Green. I suppose if we are sticking to traditional positions, this could be correct after Green’s eye-popping preseason, but head coach Billy Donovan has not been one to shy away from position-less basketball. My guess is that both Green and Brown see the court on opening night against the Detroit Pistons. After all, Donovan ran a pretty tight 9-man rotation for most of the final preseason game against the Memphis Grizzlies, and Green and Brown both saw 15 minutes as members of that bunch. I have to imagine this is the rotation he plans to use later this week.

•   Oddly enough, Derrick Jones Jr. saw NO minutes on the floor Friday night. Considering he missed some vital preseason and training camp time with an injury, I thought Donovan might be more eager to get him on the floor during this last performance. I thought the lengthy forward played well in his short stints over the previous two games, but maybe Donovan is seeing something else behind the scenes. Something to keep an eye on.

• Mondays are boring and icky, so just watch Lonzo Ball Bull do awesome things over and over again.

•   What stands out most in Ball’s preseason film is just how many highlights start with his active hands. The guy read opposing offense easier than Goodnight Moon, as he positioned himself perfectly to cut off passing lanes time and again. With the preseason over, Ball officially finished third in steals behind De’Anthony Melton and Bulls Legen Shaquille Harrison. This combination of length, athleticism, and reaction time will not only make life easier for his teammates, but it could oftentimes prove contagious. Seeing his effort and execution turn into easy transition buckets should only make guys like LaVine and DeRozan work that much harder to force their own stops.

•   Speaking of LaVine, the dude still gets buckets better than you do just about anything (#SorryNotSorry).

•   Instead of a dunk contest at All-Star Weekend this season, I think the Chicago Bulls should just throw lobs to each other.

•   The Athletic’s Zach Harper released a fresh Power Rankings, and the Chicago Bulls sit at a rotten 18th. Harper at least projects the team to sneak into the playoffs with an 8th seed, but to say he isn’t too high on their potential might be an understatement. I encourage you to read his complete explanation here. JUST START THE SEASON ALREADY! 

•   Chicago basketball is back on top! The Chicago Sky won the franchise’s first NBA championship on Sunday afternoon as they avoided a Game 5 with a clutch 15-2 run to close things out. Plenty of the Bulls talent had a close eye on the game, including Patrick Williams, who was so close he could taste the confetti (I don’t recommend tasting confetti).

•   Your turn, Bulls!

•   Elite postgame outfit.

•   The Phoenix Suns have handed Mikal Bridges an extension before big man Deandre Ayton.

•   If I ever recorded a quadruple-double, I’d hire someone to go everywhere with me while holding a TV that constantly plays highlights from my quadruple-double.

•   Pain is football.



Author: Elias Schuster

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