Tuesdays are bad enough, so while the Bulls’ first seven games have been far from perfect, we might as well recite some of the positives.
- The Bulls have already – shockingly – taken down both the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics after going a combined 1-6 against those teams last season. DeMar DeRozan has reached the 20,000-point threshold, and the Bulls’ bench has been one of the best in the league. Let’s also not forget that Nikola Vucevic has looked prime for a bounce-back campaign, while Ayo Dosunmu continues to show flashes of a sophomore-year breakout. All good things!
- Another thing that I certainly didn’t expect is that the Bulls currently hold the 13th-ranked defensive rating in the NBA. What’s truly been holding them back in many games has been their offensive inconsistencies, as their effective field goal percentage sits a startling 25th in the league. The good news, however, is that I trust this Bulls offense to make up ground far quicker than I would the defense. Not only could having Zach LaVine on the floor more consistently push that number in the right direction, but DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic are simply too talented to have the Bulls in the bottom third for too long.
- Anyway, if you want the positive vibes to continue, I recommend watching the latest episode of All-Access. The team shared some great behind-the-scenes clips in this one, including Ayo Dosunmu, Dalen Terry, and Justin Lewis singing Marko Simonovic a very cheerful happy birthday:
- The episode also reminds us of Goran Dragic’s familiarity with a couple of his fellow bench mobsters. While his experience alone is a benefit to the team’s second unit, we can’t forget that he has actually clocked his fair share of minutes with both Derrick Jones Jr. and Andre Drummond before this season. Dragic played with Drummond in Brooklyn during the second half of last season, and he suited up even more with Jones during three seasons in Miami. In the episode of All-Access, Dragic even claims that he originally added a lob pass to his arsenal because of his previous time spent with the high-flying Jones.
- Indeed, if Basketball-Reference’s lineup data is correct, Dragic played approximately 452 minutes with Jones during the forward’s time with the Heat. I don’t think there is any question that this can be seen as an advantage for both players, especially Jones, who is trying to carve out a more consistent role off the bench.
- The Chicago Bulls have officially ruled out Andre Drummond for tonight’s battle with the Brooklyn Nets. Considering how strongly he’s started this season, any game without the back big man right now spells trouble, but this feels especially true tonight. One of the biggest areas to exploit against this Nets team has been the rebounding department. They’ve accumulated the worst REB% in the league thus far, which also makes their bottom-half standing in opponent second-chance points not all surprising. Not having Drummond to help take advantage of that deficiency is frustrating.
- Even more annoying, the Nets bench hasn’t provided much of anything. They have had the 9th-worst net rating in the NBA and have scored the 2nd-fewest points per game. It’s hard not to think a fully healthy Bulls bench would be the difference in this game.
- I don’t want to linger on this just yet because Patrick Williams has actually looked a little more comfortable in recent games. But I do have to wonder how much longer Donovan will wait to consider Green in the starting lineup. The slow starts have been an early-season killer for this Bulls’ team, and we all know the kind of instant energy Green can bring to the floor. Again, I’m not sure we see any changes tonight, but I do think this will be something to watch out for over the week.
- Zach LaVine is good to go tonight, but he will sit out tomorrow’s game against one of the NBA’s more streaky offenses.
- Just like when the Bulls’ new regime took over, the midseason house-cleaning is here for the Bears!
- I hate injuries.
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