If the Chicago Bulls want to prove people wrong, they didn’t do a good job of it on Tuesday night.
I shared some takeaways from their matchup with the Pelicans below:
- While guys like Nikola Vucevic, DeMar DeRozan, and Dalen Terry all had their individual moments, the team as a whole looked startlingly discombobulated. The new five-out offense looked like a significant work in progress, while the defense continued to look completely disorganized without Lonzo Ball on the floor. Now, the good news is that the preseason is designed to work out the kinks. If the same problems from last season were going to rear their ugly head, it makes plenty of sense for that to happen in the first preseason game. What the Bulls need to do now, however, is show immediate improvement in Game 2. One would hope that a perk of continuity is the ability to adjust quickly.
- If one thing is for sure, some big-name analysts aren’t bought into this roster’s ability to solve problems. Zach Lowe of ESPN is the latest to express concern about the Bulls’ future. He threw LaVine and Co. alongside squads like the Knicks, Trail Blazers, and Kings in the “grasping at play-in home-court disadvantage” category. In other words, he projects them to fight for a 9/10 seed as opposed to hanging around the top 6 like last season.
- The Athletic’s John Hollinger painted an even grimmer picture of what might happen to the Bulls this season, even suggesting that the organization consider a full-blown teardown if things go south:
The Bulls would have DeRozan with a year left on his deal, Caruso with two and LaVine with four. Cashing in their stock next summer by trading those three, and using a raft of cap room (a stronger currency in Chicago than some other markets) and a couple of high picks to get themselves back into the mix in 2025 might be an attractive proposition by spring.
- Look, I’ve said it before: I can’t blame anyone for worrying about the Bulls’ current position in the East. The conference is arguably the most competitive it’s been in years, and there are several teams that may have leap-frogged Chicago thanks to aggressive offseasons. With that said, I can’t help but imagine how different the takes might be if the second half and first half from last year were swapped. I get it, the last couple of months were rough. But I think this team deserves at least a little more respect for what they accomplished up until the All-Star break. So while it’s totally possible the second-half Bulls are more representative of the future Bulls, is it not at all possible that we can end up saying the same thing about the first-half Bulls?
- Anyway, you can check out Hollinger’s full thoughts on the team below (to be clear, he makes plenty of good and valid points):
- These bullets are kind of a bummer today … and that’s not stopping here. I need you to read this quote from Billy Donovan on Patrick Williams, which CHGO’s Will Gottlieb so graciously shared on Twitter:
“The reality is, you’re going to make mistakes and you’re an imperfect player, as we’re all imperfect people. The standard is great, but can he, when he makes a mistake, not dwell into that, where we get four or five possessions where it’s like, he had opportunities to be aggressive but he’s living with what’s behind him. That’s the challenge.”
- When I combine this with Arturas Karnisovas saying the following in the team’s most recent All-Access video, I feel that much more uneasy: “I believe that Patrick can be an elite player in this league. Now, he has to believe in it, as well.” Oof. Williams has always said the right things about wanting to play aggressive and wanting to carry a bigger role. And, to his credit, I do think we started to see glimpses of this at the end of last season. However, it’s clear that the team has had to consistently preach this sentiment to him, which is something Bulls fans are sensitive to after watching Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen.
- To be clear, I still very much believe that Williams will figure things out, and we need to give him this season to prove that. We all just saw firsthand how much the lack of an aggressive mentality can hold a player back with both Carter Jr. and Markkanen … and it sucks. Let’s just hope Williams can finally start to understand how special he can be.
- Hey, that’s pretty darn cool!
- ICYMI: Draymond Green and Jordan Poole got into a physical altercation at practice this week. According to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, Green has apologized to the team for his actions, but he also shared that Poole’s demeanor this summer has taken an interesting turn:
- The NBA expansion talk is heating up … well, kinda. LeBron James told reporters that he hopes to own a future NBA team, and he would like that team to be in Las Vegas. This prompted ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski to report that, while expansion is seemingly on the table, the league wouldn’t plan on going that path until after a new television deal is completed in the coming years.
- GOAT stuff …
- Non-GOAT stuff …
- Well, somebody has to be!
- This bounce-back season for Jackson has been so fun.