It might only be a preseason game with limited star power, but I’m already mad.
I’m mad about the United Center blowouts. I’m mad about Grayson Allen. I’m mad they have the best player in the world.
While I’m not sure we can label this a true rivalry thanks to the Milwaukee Bucks’ winning eight of nine games against the Bulls last season, this is surely the most contentious the relationship has felt between the two organizations and their fan bases in quite some time. The Bulls and Bucks just don’t seem to like each other right now, and that makes even this meaningless exhibition game all the more enticing.
- I’m not quite sure what to expect tonight in terms of playing time. On one hand, it would make sense for Donovan to run the show as close to his preferred opening night rotation as possible. Only about nine or ten guys could see the floor over the first three quarters or so, giving us a clear indication of who has made the greatest impact over the past three games and at training camp. On the other hand, with an almost identical roster to last season, maybe Donovan feels totally comfortable. He could always opt to save the legs of his All-Star players and give those fighting to prove their worth one last shot. I can see it both ways.
- Regardless of the path he takes, I wouldn’t mind seeing Patrick Williams heavily involved in the game plan. This is his last chance to get into a rhythm and build some confidence before the standings are impacted. Sometimes all it can take is one big play or a couple of easy buckets to turn things around, so the Bulls might as well feed him the basketball and see what he can do.
- The free throw discrepancy over these first three preseason games has been a bit of a bummer. Chicago has taken fewer trips to the charity stripe than their opponent in each game thus far, which included shooting just 19 attempts to the Raptors’ 31 on Sunday night. Considering the team has won two of the games in blowout fashion, it might not be the biggest deal. But we also don’t want this to become a problem when the regular season tips off. The defense is already going to have its problems, so let’s just hope fouling too much isn’t one.
- Speaking of free throws, I would hope to see the Bulls’ attempts increase this season. They finished just 17th in FTAs per game last year despite having the player who averaged the 5th-most trips to the line a night. Zach LaVine, in particular, feels like someone who should be able to get calls far more often on a healthy knee. I can also see a world where players like Ayo Dosunmu and Javonte Green show an increased ability to draw contact. Not only does it appear as if this Bulls offense plans to put a lot of pressure at the rim through transition takes and hard cuts, but both players have shown real offensive aggressiveness at times this preseason.
- LONZO BALL IS BACK IN THE GYM … kinda. Reporters at Tuesday morning’s practice caught a glimpse of the Bulls’ starting point guard putting in some upper body work. Ball could be seen – from a distance – lifting with a trainer:
- Does this mean absolutely anything? No. But it’s our first look at him putting in any work since rejoining the team … so there is that.
- Meanwhile, Goran Dragic could be seen with a brace on his right leg. My guess right now is that this is just some old guy stuff and has nothing to do with current availability, but we’ll keep an eye on it.
- I will make an unhealthy amount of memes with this photo.
- ESPN’s Zach Lowe has released his yearly League Pass Power Rankings, and the Chicago Bulls finished a lackluster 18th. I wanted to scream and shout about the placement, but I actually found that hard to do as I went through the list. While there aren’t many teams I would rather watch than the Bulls for biased reasons, I can understand the intrigue behind a handful of other teams this season. Having said that, we know from last year that the Bulls can look like one of the most exciting teams in the league on any given night thanks to this offensive firepower.
- I wrote some words on Javonte Green’s stellar play:
- Some good Fields stats!
- Hockey is right around the corner.