Following an optimistic and energetic Media Day, the Chicago Bulls took the court for the first official day of training camp. The team shared a little behind-the-scenes look at the first practice, and I think it’s safe to say Zach LaVine is thrilled to return to the court with a fully healthy knee.
Check it out:
While it’ll be essential to see how LaVine handles a full training camp and preseason, it’s great to know he’s walking into things feeling back to 100 percent. The team will obviously need a hot start from him and his All-Star colleagues to get through a grueling opening to the year, especially with Lonzo Ball’s return nowhere in sight.
- Speaking of the elephant in the room, Ball’s press conference with reporters yesterday probably couldn’t have gone worse. The point guard painted an even grimmer picture of where his health currently stands, sharing that he can’t run, jump, or even walk up the stairs without experiencing pain. Taking all that into consideration, it’s hard not to fear that his post-surgery rehab could take even longer than initially expected. He’ll basically have to start from ground zero when it comes to strengthening his legs and getting his body right.
- It didn’t take long for angry fans to follow Ball’s words with one big question: Why did he wait so long to get this procedure done? I understand why that thought enters a lot of heads, but taking the discourse down this path is a slippery slope. This isn’t Scottie Pippen waiting to get a simple surgery so he can give a middle finger to the front office. Ball is experiencing a confusing and concerning injury in the same knee that he’s already had three surgeries on. It’s all very complicated.
- Avoiding an operating room visit is always the goal, especially so soon after another surgery. All parties tried that until it became abundantly clear that Ball wasn’t improving in a linear fashion (I also think the fact that he would feel better at times during rehab likely gave some false hope that he was getting better, thus delaying things). At the end of the day, Ball knows his body best, and I’m going to trust him and the medical professionals with this process. This whole situation sucks, but it’s not anyone’s fault.
- Head coach Billy Donovan told reporters that the team will “have to” think of Ball’s injury as being season-long. Does this mean the team honestly believes he’ll be sidelined the whole season? No. But the last thing the Bulls can do is enter this year with a “we just have to get by for a few weeks until Lonzo is back” mentality. Nobody knows when this man will return, and this roster has to learn how to play their style without him.
- It took one day for Dalen Terry to be amazed by his All-Star teammate.
- Andre Drummond knows his role. While he told the media that he still views himself as a starting-caliber player in this league, he also made clear to The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry that he loves the fit on this hungry team.
“My job here is to be the best teammate possible and help this team in any way possible. Whatever role that may be, I have to accept it,” Drummond told Mayberry. “Obviously, I’m here for one reason and that’s to be a good basketball player and help this team. If it’s to start or come off the bench, I’m accepting either or.”
- Drummond also went on to give some love to head coach Billy Donovan, stating that the role and vision he explained to the big man this summer is what sold him on joining the team. I think this just serves as another reminder of how nice it is to have well-respect management. DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso have said similar things about Arturas Karnisovas’ art of persuasion, and it makes me feel that much better about their ability to continue attracting quality talent to Chicago.
- The doubters are making themselves heard, and I can’t blame them. I’m also worried about where the Bulls might finish in the standings after all the improvements their Eastern Conference foes made this summer. Not to mention, they left quite the bad taste in everyone’s mouth with the way they ended last season, and that understandably plays a role in the significant skepticism we’ve seen this offseason. Having said that, last year’s team still finished top-6 and sat first in the conference for several months. So while we should factor in the second-half tumble in our analysis, we also shouldn’t completely throw away what they did before that.
- We all know this is going to be amazing.
- Sure, why not.
- Remember when Jimmer was on the Bulls? Crazy times.
- We got four future All-Stars on our hands, right?