Some Preseason Takeaways, Vooch Wanted to Play, Joakim Guarded Obama, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Some Preseason Takeaways, Vooch Wanted to Play, Joakim Guarded Obama, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

The preseason wrapped up on Tuesday night with a low-stakes battle against the off-brand Milwaukee Bucks. Everyone from Giannis Antetokounmpo to Jrue Holiday to Bobby Portis to Grayson ‘Most Hated Man in Chicago’ Allen sat on the sideline, while the Bulls gave the night off to both Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan.

The contest as a whole felt like nothing more than a glorified scrimmage, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t still valuable for those who stepped on the court. Free agent additions Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond got to build some more chemistry in the second unit, combining for 29 points off the bench. Meanwhile, young players like Coby White and Dalen Terry received one last big opportunity to remind the coaching staff of what they can do.

Most importantly, however, was the high usage we saw fall into Patrick Williams’ lap. The recently-demoted power forward earned a spot back in the starting lineup where he played a team-high 32 minutes. Williams went on to score 22 points (9-17 FG) with 5 assists and 5 rebounds in an overall +15 performance. From the moment the ball tipped, he provided the kind of highlight plays and two-way impact this coaching staff has longed for.

Anyway, Williams’ performance warrants an entirely separate post, so we’ll discuss that more later on.

  • What better way to start the post-preseason bullets than with a bunch of random positive takeaways? Here’s a version of the list I tweeted out last night: Vucevic looked like his old self on offense and a new self on defense; DeRozan showed he has no plans of slowing down; Javonte Green is going to get paid next summer; Dalen Terry is going to earn some minutes; having a backup center is nice; the Bulls remain one of the NBA’s most elite teams in transition, and Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu look like they’re up for the defensive challenge.
  • Now, as for the random not-so-positive takeaways: The Bulls might have some turnover trouble as they adjust to this new offense (averaged 3rd-most in preseason); 3-point shooting still isn’t a big enough priority (averaged 3rd-fewest attempts); protecting the paint still might be a major problem; Patrick Williams isn’t yet showing consistent aggressiveness, and Zach LaVine got off to a slow start.
  • All in all, I’d give the Bulls’ preseason a solid B. The team looked increasingly comfortable as the games went on, and we also saw just how effective this offense can continue to be even without Lonzo Ball leading the way. The concerns I have about the defensive consistency and the improvements by other East teams remain, but this looked like a Bulls squad ready to put up a fight.
  • I was extremely confused when I saw Nikola Vucevic play more than 10 minutes of basketball last night, but head coach Billy Donovan said after the game that the big man wanted to be out there. You have to respect the mentality, especially when we consider the season he had in 2021-22.
  • Good tweet.
  • ICYMI: The kid from Chicago has officially been named the starting point guard.
  • Goran Dragic knows his time in the NBA is winding down, and he talked about that with The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry:
  • Dwyane Wade recently appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and told quite an awesome story about Joakim Noah. According to the former-Bull (still weird to say), the other former-Bull was invited to a birthday scrimmage for President Obama. And, well, I’ll just drop the exchange from Wade’s interview with Fallon below:

DW: “We’re scrimmaging for president Obama. He brings us all in and he said ‘hey, I want you guys to play hard and play like this is a real game.’ And we looked around the court and there is secret service all around the court. And we’re like, we can’t touch you. We can’t foul you for real.”

JF: “Can you imagine if you did that.”

DW: “Joakim Noah did. He picked him up full court and was elbowing him and everything. It was great.” 

  • If you asked me, “which basketball player would elbow the president on his birthday?” My answer would instantly be Joakim Noah. That man takes it easy on no one! NO. ONE.
  • The Ball brothers can’t catch a break.
  • Another good tweet.
  • I like optimism!
  • I’m ready for pain.

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Author: Elias Schuster

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