Bulls Housekeeping, Dragic's Ugly Debut, Taking Notes From Javonte, Defensive Concerns, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Bulls Housekeeping, Dragic’s Ugly Debut, Taking Notes From Javonte, Defensive Concerns, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

First things first, the Chicago Bulls have reportedly picked up the fourth-year option on Patrick Williams’ rookie deal, according to Spotrac’s Keith Smith.

The news isn’t really anything more than some front office housekeeping (what were they going to do … let the former No. 4 overall pick walk?), but it at least confirms that this box has officially been checked.

Now, about last night …

  • Williams – like many of his teammates – underwhelmed in his first preseason action. While he looked a little more decisive when it came to attacking the rim and pushing the pace in transition, he walked off the floor with just 5 points and 5 rebounds on 2-7 shooting. Now, to be fair, he tied Zach LaVine for the fewest minutes among the starters with just 17. He also finished the night with a team-high +7. So should we label it some kind of extremely discouraging performance? No. But I’m hoping we see him increasingly more involved over the next several games.
  • Let’s also hope that more playing time for Williams leads to more success guarding the rim. The Bulls didn’t look much better in this department as Zion Williamson and a physical Pelicans team easily outscored them 62-50 in the paint. Of course, we can’t read too much into one preseason game where 16 players took the floor, but it’s hard not to feel concerned about this group’s ability to improve on the defensive end.
  • Drum roll, please! I’m not at all happy to announce that the “Ugliest Debut Award” goes to … Goran Dragic! The Chicago Bulls’ 36-year-old free agent signing more than looked his age during his 13 minutes on the court. He shot 1-4 from the field and turned the ball over three times. And, to make matters worse, each turnover felt more mind-boggling than the next. As someone who is supposed to provide a steady hand to this young backcourt, as well as clock somewhat significant minutes with Lonzo Ball on the sideline, it was a sweat-inducing start to his Bulls tenure.
  • Now, I’m more than willing to give Dragic a pass considering the circumstances, but I’m not sure what I’ll think if that happens again. The guy looked borderline unplayable against this young, athletic, and scrappy New Orleans team, and it does make me wonder how selective head coach Billy Donovan might need to be in terms of how/when Dragic is used throughout the season.
  • I want to sit here and complain about Billy Donovan’s rotations, but that’s stupid, right? It’s clear that last night’s contest was far more about getting everyone’s feet wet than running an actual game plan. So I’m going to withhold my not-so-nice comments on the Dragic, Caruso, Green, DeRozan, Drummond lineup for the time being. *shivers due to lack-of-shooting disgust*
  • Let Javonte Green run a practice!
  • Javonte Green was the first Bulls player to check in off the bench last night, and it’s easy to see why. His transition talent, athleticism, and defensive versatility are perfect alongside the team’s three offensive-minded All-Stars. Not to mention, he looks like someone who can take real advantage of Donovan’s new preferred style of play, which revolves heavily around a five-out look. Green has always been an active off-ball mover and talented cutter, and he showed his teammates against the Pelicans what they must do to make this new offense work. Whether it be Patrick Williams or Zach LaVine, there needs to be a greater emphasis on hunting cutting lanes and moving with purpose.
  • It sounds like the Bulls and LaVine are taking a smart approach with his preseason minutes:
  • Alex Caruso can do that!?
  • Caruso called out the Bulls for providing a lackluster defensive effort. Considering it’s the preseason, I can’t blame them too much for not putting their foot on the gas, but now is also the time to establish an identity on both ends. The less you try to work out the kinks during these four games, the more trouble you might be in when the real battles start. The Bulls need to prove to themselves that their defensive structure without Ball can hold up ASAP.
  • Oh boy.
  • Eh.


Author: Elias Schuster

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