Preseason Game 2, Testing Out Different Lineups, Lonzo Ball Returns to Chicago, and Other Bulls Bullets

The Chicago Bulls will play (hopefully far less ugly) basketball tonight!

  • While the outcome of this second preseason game will be as meaningless as the last, the Bulls shouldn’t look at it that way. Tuesday night’s opener didn’t go according to plan. Not only did familiar problems begin to arise at the rim and behind the 3-point line, but the team looked completely uncomfortable trying to run their new offensive scheme. Since it was just the first of four preseason games, we can surely cut them some slack. However, continuity should mean more obvious chemistry and a quicker ability to adjust. This group needs to use their familiarity with one another and show an instant capacity to improve on their mistakes. We need to see nothing but growth over these next three games.
  • All signs point to more Coby White this evening. The fourth-year guard left the matchup with New Orleans after only 3 minutes due to a knee contusion. Fortunately, an MRI came back clean and White was back on the practice floor on Thursday. He told reporters that he expects to suit up later today against the Nuggets.
  • If White is truly good to go, then I need to see Billy Donovan run a second unit lineup of Alex Caruso, Goran Dragic, Coby White, DeMar DeRozan, and Andre Drummond. While I have my concerns about the defensive capabilities of this lineup, it at least provides the kind of shooting that makes sense around DeRozan and Drummond. With White out, Donovan instead went with a five-man unit that featured Green … and it was all kinds of ugly. Don’t get me wrong, I love Green’s toughness and energy, but not having the catch-and-shoot ability of both Dragic and White forces the second unit back into a “stand around and watch DeMar” offense.
  • Also, can we please get a little more Derrick Jones Jr. in this game? The lengthy and switchable forward saw just 10 minutes of action in Game 1. While I understand that he’s likely to enter the year on the outside of the rotation looking in, I’d at least like to see him get a greater opportunity to prove his worth. He had some really fun moments last season in small-ball lineups, and I think this is something the Bulls might as well experiment with again sooner than later.
  • NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson wrote more about DJJ’s decision to re-sign with the Bulls below:
  • The Bulls happened to be one of the better teams at limiting their turnovers last season (averaged 6th-fewest per game), so I’m really hoping Tuesday night was an anomaly. The team coughed up 27 TOVs to the Pelicans’ 22, and 12 of those mistakes came from the starting lineup. We need to see that number go down immediately.
  • Lonzo Ball has returned to Chicago. The starting point guard is expected to continue his rehab around the team, but The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry has shared that he will not yet join the roster on the bench during games.
  • Regardless, I think it’s better for everyone that Ball is back in the building. It’s crucial for players as important as Ball to stay connected with the locker room and still feel a part of the process. Not to mention, this will make it a lot easier for the Bulls’ training staff to track his progress and figure out a potential timeline for his return.
  • ICYMI: The footage of Draymond Green punching Jordan Poole hit the internet this morning.
  • I think long-time NBA reporter Marc Stein makes a very important point below. It’s not like these practice fights haven’t happened before – heck, the Bulls have two famous ones with the Jordan-Kerr and Portis-Mirotic incidents – but the fact the footage ended up online adds a whole new complicated layer. The Warriors simply can’t try to brush this under the rug anymore.
  • Trae Young might have a point!
  • This man is 7-foot-4 and knocking down off-balance corner 3s with ease. The league might be screwed.
  • Speaking of which, I wrote about the impact that projected 2023 No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama could have on this season’s trade market. Executives expect more role players to become available than normal, which could give a Bulls team looking to expand on last year’s success a big opportunity.
  • Yes, yes, and more yes.
  • Tab talked with Slaggert!
  • written by

    Elias Schuster is the Lead Chicago Bulls writer at Bleacher Nation. He started with BN full-time in 2019 immediately after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with a degree in Journalism (yes, he started with the Jim Boylen Era). Since joining, Elias has been the driving force behind Bulls and NBA content for both the site and social accounts. You can follow him on Twitter/X @Schuster_Elias.

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