Shoutout to The Sporting News’ Steph Noh for putting together this absolute gem:
- A case could be made that the fact both Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso are so critical to this team’s success is a flaw in the front office’s team-building approach. The ideal scenario would be to have one of your two best players – in this case, Zach LaVine or DeMar DeRozan – also play as an above-average two-way talent. With that said, Ball and Caruso are not just solid defenders but arguably two of the best backcourt defenders in the NBA.
- Rarely do we see teams have two players that are this talented on that end of the floor, which is why I think it’s perfectly logical for their value to be as high as it is for this team. Sure, it stinks when the absence of one player makes a significant difference in how this group performs. But that might speak less to problems with this team’s roster construction and more to how freakin’ elite Ball and Caruso are on that end of the court.
- Caruso, in particular, provides a level of ball pressure that can have an immense ripple effect on how the rest of the defense performs. His disruption at the point of attack and ability to shut down isolation possessions makes life significantly easier for everybody else on the court. Seriously, if you have the time, watch the clips against the Denver Nugget and the Phoenix Suns in Noh’s video above. It’s truly special stuff.
- I can’t wait to watch Year 2 of Alex Caruso in Chicago. Appearing in just 41 games last season thanks to several fluke injuries, I’m sure the defensive stopper has a decently-sized chip on his shoulder. Not to mention, I only expect his role on this team to grow with time. While we know what he can bring on the defensive end, the Bulls will need him to offer even more in the way of reliable 3-point shooting. We talked more about that recently here.
- Between LaVine, Derrick Jones Jr., and Javonte Green, the pure athleticism on this team is bonkers.
- I know I questioned last week how Green will find playing time on a fully-healthy Bulls team, but I want to make clear that this is a good problem to have. Knowing that someone with his swiss-army-knife ability can move back to the bench full-time speaks to some of the newfound depth the Bulls should (hopefully) have this season.
- The Athletic’s Shams Charania broke some major news:
- Not about Durant, you silly goose! I’m talking about the fact that Denzel Valentine signed a training camp deal with the Boston Celtics. Duh! The former Bull will get a chance to join old teammate Luke Kornet and compete for a roster spot next month.
- Charania did write a ton about the Donovan Mitchell and Kevin Durant waiting game, which you can catch up on below. While there has yet to be a ton of traction on a deal for either player, interest in both has only ticked up as the season inches closer.
- I got nothing but respect for head coach Billy Donovan, but it would have been so cool to see Kerr back in Chicago. Maybe one day!
- Mondays are boring, so catch up on the latest episode of Points in the Podcast! I hope you like it!
- Going to be crazy when Patrick Kane single-handedly carries this team to the playoffs.
- Congrats, Robert!
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