So Close to 2-0, Zach is Back(!), Some Patrick Williams Concerns, and Other Bulls Bullets

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So Close to 2-0, Zach is Back(!), Some Patrick Williams Concerns, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls






  • DeMar DeRozan did everything he could … again. Two nights after dropping 37 points in a surprising season-opening win over the Miami Heat, he dropped 32 points on 11-23 shooting in a somewhat surprising loss to the Washington Wizards. He scored 12 of those points in the 4th quarter to put the Bulls in a position to go 2-0 for the second-straight season. However, with the clock ticking down and the ball in his hands, he fell just short of replicating his buzzer-beater magic from last season.
  • No, seriously, look how close he was …
  • Regardless, it was yet another performance that proved the DeRozan from last season wasn’t some kind of urban legend. He looked to be in complete control whenever he was on the floor, and this wasn’t strictly because of his normal scoring output. DeRozan now has 15 assists over his first two games of the season, which have also come with just four total turnovers. To be sure, he isn’t going to average 7.5 assists per game as this season drags on, but I’ve said before that I believe his playmaking will show itself more this season.
  • Keep the records coming …
  • A good read on DeMar DeRozan’s greatness:
  • With all that DeRozan praise said, the Bulls shouldn’t have been in a one-possession game with that team in the first place. While the Wizards could prove to be a surprising Eastern Conference team this season, I still believe this Bulls roster is significantly more talented. They would have walked out of there with a win if they didn’t find themselves in the thick of two four-minute-long scoring droughts. And, to be sure, these stretches weren’t necessarily caused by the strong Wizards’ defense. The Bulls were simply settling for shots early in the second half and it threw them into a 17-point hole.
  • Now, what happened when they ramped up the intensity again on both ends and attacked downhill? They erased that deficit. It just goes back to playing a full 48 minutes, which is something this group repeatedly struggled to do last season. While they have the talent to climb out of some deep trouble, more often than not this isn’t going to be a recipe for success, especially when someone as talented as Bradley Beal is on the other side trying to close things out.
  • I’ll be honest, I’m still not at all comfortable with how the team handled these first two games of the season. There has clearly been some level of concern around his knee, and I’m not convinced that his availability for tonight’s home opener means that concern has subsided. But, regardless, having him back in the lineup for a big-time battle with the Cleveland Cavaliers is a good thing. It should open up the floor that much more for his All-Star teammates, as well as allow this team to play closer to their free-flowing preseason identity.
  • I refuse to press the panic button right now on a 20-year-old who missed practically the entirety of his second season in the NBA. But I have pressed the “I’m a tiny bit concerned” button. Patrick Williams spoke with The Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley about his current role on the team, and let’s just say he currently sounds a bit … well … deflated.

“As a player, you know when you play well. . . . Anybody can get the ball and score, but I think it’s tough when you want to win and you play with stars — it’s tough,” Williams told Cowley. “You’ve got to find different spots that you usually don’t have to find, offensive rebounds, transition, things like that. That’s where I think I have to find my buckets, just being aggressive.”

  • First things first, he’s not wrong. It can be extremely hard to go from the Sixth Man at FSU to the starting power forward alongside three All-Stars. You can have all the talent in the world – and Williams basically does – but adjusting to that new role is freakin’ difficult. Having said that, confidence can make things a lot easier (just ask Ayo Dosunmu), and I fear that Williams doesn’t have a lot of it. I have very little doubt that he has the skills to help this team tremendously. But until he can jump over this mental hurdle and believe he belongs alongside these starters, he will not even begin to reach his full potential.
  • Isn’t it nice to have some experience off the bench?
  • Is that good?
  • Where was this in Chicago, Lauri!?
  • It’s never too early to think about the draft (especially when your team sucks).
  • Let’s follow a home-opening win with a home-opening win!

Author: Elias Schuster

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