Three great words: Basketball is back.
Three greater words: Bulls are back.
- While we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to say the latter, we can officially utter the former when the 76ers and Celtics tip off tonight in Boston. The NBA’s return to action will feature a star-studded doubleheader on TNT, with the Lakers and defending champion Warriors holding the nightcap. I know the NBA offseason may not have been that long on paper, but it sure felt like it!
- I couldn’t be more excited to have the round orange bouncy ball back in my life, and I sure hope the Bulls don’t make me regret saying that by the end of this week. Chicago’s start to the year is no cake-walk. Unlike last season when they had the privilege of playing Detroit twice in the first three games, Billy Donovan’s squad will receive a pop quiz from the jump. First is a matchup with the defending No. 1 seed in the East before traveling to play a healthy Bradley Beal in D.C. Then, two home contests against two teams that are viewed by many as top-5 in the conference. And, to add insult to injury, the Bulls’ second and third games will be their first back-to-back set of the season. Yippie!
- As optimistic as I want to be, I think it’s safe to say a 4-0 record may not be in the cards this season. Heck, if they can even come out of this stretch 2-2, I’d feel pretty darn good, especially when we consider two tanking teams in the Pacers and Spurs are waiting in the wings. If we do want to convince ourselves that an above-.500 start is possible, however, we might as well use the Bulls’ favorite word to do so. In theory, “continuity” should mean fewer wrinkles to iron out from the jump. As good as they looked to begin last year, they should look even better after a full season of having this core play alongside each other. This should be particularly true against the Wizards and Cavaliers – two teams that experienced pretty significant changes to the roster dating back to last season’s trade deadline.
- As for the Boston Celtics, while they will return the same unit that led them to the NBA Finals last year, they will be without one of their key defenders. The combination of Marcus Smart in the backcourt and Williams in the frontcourt is a big reason why we saw Boston experience a historic in-season turnaround. Unfortunately for them, Williams underwent knee surgery earlier this summer and is now expected to miss even more time than initially reported.
- The Celtics aren’t expecting to see the big man until the second half of this season, according to Shams Charania, which means the Bulls will likely dodge him in at least three of their four matchups this year.
- The Chicago Bulls’ official 2022-23 roster has arrived!
- Let’s recap: Goran Dragic, Andre Drummond, Dalen Terry, and Kostas Antetokounmpo make up the newest additions. At least two of those players – Dragic and Drummond – are expected to receive a spot in the rotation on opening night, while one (Dalen Terry) could be just an injury away from finding his way onto the floor. Two other names I want to mention because they stand out for all the wrong reasons are Tony Bradley and Marko Simonovic. Both young big men have seemingly failed to make a strong impression on this coaching staff and/or front office. With that being the case, I have to imagine they are the most likely candidates to be waived or included in a trade as salary filler this season.
- Speaking of trades, Coby White is now in a contract year. We know from previous reports this summer that the front office sniffed around potential deals for the former lottery pick, and he’ll continue to be a name to watch in that respect this year.
- Dalen Terry talks about his rookie duties in the latest episode of All-Access. According to the 20-year-old, sophomore Ayo Dosunmu told him that if he does all the little things with zero fuss, the vets will forget to hand him any big tasks. We’ll see if he can get through the whole season as just the Chipotle delivery man.
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