Happy Media Day Eve, everyone.
The Chicago Bulls will kick the 2022-23 campaign into high gear on Monday when the organization sits down to address reporters. While Media Day is largely a babblefest of optimism and fluff, there are a handful of crucial questions that much be asked to roster and front office members alike.
Now, how truthfully they’ll answer those questions is anyone’s guess, but my fingers are crossed that we will receive some clarity by end of the day tomorrow.
- The first question, in my opinion, is easy: Who is starting at point guard? My best guess is that the team isn’t going to comment much on Lonzo Ball’s current status. They’ll remind us of his upcoming knee surgery and that he’ll be re-evaluated in the next four-to-six weeks. Instead, Arturas Karnisovas and Billy Donovan will likely stress how deep the roster is at the guard position, which will lead reporters to push for them to divulge who the fill-in will be on opening night.
- Is there a chance they don’t know? Sure. Maybe Goran Dragic clicks with the starters in training camp. Maybe Ayo Dosunmu doesn’t look as comfortable after Year 1 as we expected. But I’d bet pretty good money this organization already has an idea of who they prefer as the primary backup point guard. They just might not want to say it right off the bat.
- The next thing I want this front office to address is the additions of Dragic and Andre Drummond. How well do they truly believe these two fix last season’s problems? Both might add veteran experience to the locker room, but Dragic is far past his prime and Drummond isn’t the kind of rim-protector that compliments Vucevic’s skillset. The idea was to improve around the margins this offseason, and I want them to sell me on how they believe they did that.
- Other questions I look forward to having answered: Will the team prioritize taking more 3s? How do you make up for the absence of Ball’s two-way efficiency? Where do contract extension talks stand with Nikola Vucevic? What did Vucevic do this summer to ensure last year doesn’t repeat itself? Do they see any kind of immediate role for Dalen Terry? Where do expectations stand for Patrick Williams? Does the organization understand how important it is for him to take an immediate step this season? Does continuity still feel like the best path forward after seeing the rest of the East improve? Are they prepared to stay aggressive this season and make in-season trades if necessary?
- I also wouldn’t mind getting everyone’s thoughts on how difficult the start of this season will be:
- In Bleacher Report’s latest exercise of picking each team’s worst contract, I think we were all reminded of something pretty important: The Bulls don’t have a bad contract. By default, they chose the one-year and $22 million left on Nikola Vucevic’s deal. After a down year like last season, I can understand why this is the easy choice, but it’s also not that hard to stomach when we consider (1) it’s an expiring deal and (2) it’s actually the cheapest he’s been throughout his four-year, $100 million contract.
- Could Lonzo Ball’s contract look a bit ugly if he can’t regain his health this season? Sure. But he also plays like someone more than worthy of his current paycheck when he’s on the floor. Meanwhile, DeMar DeRozan has already outplayed his three-year, $81.9 million deal and Zach LaVine continues to play like a max-level scorer. All things considered, I do think this front office deserves credit for where the payroll currently stands. Despite an older core, they aren’t tied up in many bad deals at the moment, which could leave them some room to course-correct if needed.
- As weird as things have been with Scottie Pippen in recent years, I wish him a very happy 57th birthday.
- FWIW: I would have loved to see a prime Pippen in today’s NBA. One of the best perimeter defenders this game has ever seen, he would have been such a useful ball-stopper in the era of athletic wings. Not to mention, I think he would have turned into one of the league’s better knockdown shooters.
- The Pelicans handed their new guard a well-deserved extension. Finally away from Damian Lillard, McCollum shined when given the chance to lead the New Orleans’ backcourt.
- Hey, that’s fun!
- BEAT THE TEXANS!