Ex communicado a Canadian which allowed me the great fortune to attend the Bulls pre-season tilt against the NBA Champion Toronto Raptors Sunday night (shout out wife and wives everywhere). The Raptors benched all of their starters (Gasol, Siakam, Lowry, Van Vleet, etc) while the Bulls trotted out what seems to be their regular season starting lineup of:
PG – Tomas Satoransky
SG – Zach LaVine
SF – Otto Porter Jr
PF – Lauri Markannen
C – Wendell Carter
After ANOTHER sloppy start that saw the Bulls fall behind 7-0 to the backups, the talent of their starting 5 took over and the Bulls ran away with this game rather easily. Check out the highlights below and my 7 takeaways from the game.
- Zach LaVine is READY TO GO. I’ve been one of the harshest LaVine critics in the past few years but he looks like a different player right now. Offensively, he looks simply incredible. He is scoring efficiently, and making it look easy. He’s making quick decisions, playing less iso ball, and his shooting stroke looks smooth. He dropped 26 points on 9/14 shooting (4/6 from 3, 4/4 ft), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a game leading +/- of 30. But what really stood out was his effort on defense. LaVine has historically been a HORRID defender, combining poor instincts with lackluster effort and an apathetic disposition that would make Jabari Parker blush. But this preseason has shown an active and attentive LaVine. He’s got a long ways to go but this has been perhaps the biggest surprise of the pre-season. Fuck it, I’m going to agree with Stephen Noh of the Athletic and claim that LaVine is making the All Star team (and hopefully participating in the dunk contest IN CHICAGO)
- Tomas Satoransky is the starting point guard. I simply enjoy watching him play. As I’ve said before, he reminds me of Mike Dunleavy Jr. is so many ways and I think he’s such a stabilizing force for a team that desperately needed it. To think the Bulls almost signed Darren Collison (who abruptly retired)…..Tomas finished with 12 points (4/5 fg, 3/4 from 3) 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and heady play throughout.
He was playing Czech whlile the Raptors were playing Checkers.Bulls fans will love this guy.
- Wendell Carter Jr. looks rusty. This was WCJ’s first game this preseason and it showed. He looked a bit slow and rusty (Im not going to lie he LOOKED a bit on the out shape size). But despite struggling from the floor and finishing at the rim, he still snagged 7 rebounds and a block in 17 minutes. The Bulls defense depends on his growth if they are to be a top 15-18 unit. It may take him a few weeks to get back into form, but it was a good sight to see him playing again.
- Coby White is ready to score NOW, playmake later. In just 21 minutes, Coby put up 16 shots, 12 3’s en route to 18 points. He has not been shy is getting shots up but the game has also called for it. Also its important to note he had 1 assist (after 0 last game) and its obvious his playmaking ability will take some time to develop. I think you’re going to see Coby more minutes at the 2 than 1 this year. They may pair him with Dunn or Shaq a lot.
- Kris Dunn hasn’t been
great goodwatchable. Enough is enough. All this bullshit media stories (and painful to read Bulls twitter) that Dunn has been “killing it behind the scenes” can finally be put to rest. He sucks. His offense is getting worse. He bricked his first 3 3point attemps and once had as many turnovers as assists. His turnovers are also of the worst variety. Often times it’s him getting picked in the backcourt and leading to fast break points. I’m done with him, but he has no trade value and Coby may be treated as a 2, so I dont think hes going anywhere. But Arci sadly might surpass him for minutes. (Give me Shaq’s defense and lack of Dunn false confidence on offense to pair with Coby instead.
- Signs of optimism continue to surface for this new looks Bulls offense. The Bulls took 49 THREE POINT ATTEMPTS. THEY TOOK 49 3’S, 41 TWO POINT FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS. Holy shit! It’s like the Bulls just woke up from a deep coma and got injected into modern times. Jim Boylen laughed and said the Beyonce dress was definitely white and gold and that the Bulls should starting playing a modern day offense. It’s been a sight to behold. Once again the Point 5 offensive system led to quick passes, ball movement, and more little to no long 2’s.
- Cameron Payne is so much more fun to watch on an opposing team. He was terrible (DUH!) and I
drunkenlywarned Raptors fans around me that you want no part of this man. He forced the issue per usual and in 18 glorious minutes finished with 5 points on 1/7 shooting (1/5 from 3) and 4 turnovers. He’s not an NBA player and tops my most hated Bull players of all time.
My top 5 Most Hated Bulls
- Cameron Payne
- Jabari Parker
- Cameron Payne
- Dwyane Wade
- Malik Allen
One more game remains for the Bulls Thursday against Atlanta and then the regular season is here! I still can’t believe the NBA season is already here. Can you?