New Year, New Team
After an exciting off-season, week one of the season brings even more excitement for Bulls fans. Off to a 3-0 start, the Bulls led by Zach LaVine proved that they can and will win basketball games. Let’s take a closer look at what is going well and what warning signs we’ve seen so far.
The Good News from Week One
Averaging 26.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists, LaVine showed that this could be his best season yet. His scoring and playmaking drive the Bulls offense alongside Lonzo Ball‘s playmaking, DeMar DeRozan‘s mid-range scoring, Nikola Vucevic‘s pick-and-roll game, and hustle from Alex Caruso, Javonte Green, and Patrick Williams. Expect the new-look Bulls to generate ridiculous highlights all season long.
While the crowd-pleasing style from week one looks beautiful, this team wins games due to some major fundamental improvements this season. Active hands, diverse pick-and-roll coverages, and great rotations lead to easy buckets in transition facilitated by Lonzo, Zach, and AC. Controlling the game defensively suggests that this team can consistently win games regardless of who’s hot and who’s not on any given night.
The Bad News from Week One
The biggest downside to week one had to be the easy schedule. No disrespect, but the Bulls haven’t played a healthy team, let alone a competitive one. These first few games showed some signs that the rotation is a little too weak at the end of the bench. Even though it hasn’t been a huge issue so far, better and more complete teams are bound to expose the lack of depth, especially in the big man rotation.
Predictions for Week Two
Week two might be an uphill battle. First, Toronto and their high-intensity frontcourt rotation might expose our lack of depth, but I still believe we will win that game given our high offensive potential. A matchup between Scottie Barnes and Pat Williams should be fun to watch. After that, we face the Knicks. If we hit our offensive stride early, I believe we can handle their tough style and tall lineup. We finish the week against the Jazz, and I honestly don’t think we can win that game this early in the season. Their efficiency on the offensive end and Rudy Gobert on defense are a lot for the Bulls to handle.
I can’t wait to see how Chicago plays against some higher-caliber teams. If we are what I think we are, the Eastern Conference is in for a high-flying surprise!
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I agree that the Bulls have had an easy schedule but they have to play who they are scheduled to play. Give them credit that this Bulls team has looked like a Pro-basketball team, unlike the teams of years past going back to 2010 (probably beyond). Length will be an issue at some point because they are too small but what can they do if they can’t create a possible trade for a journeyman big or find one somewhere else? I like what I see the question becomes can they maintain the energy and if so they will at least become a play-off caliber team under Donavan. I truly wish that they could have kept Theis but I do understand and I don’t believe that T. Bradley is the answer either.
I agree that they look amazing, and I’m very excited to see some competitive basketball come out of Chicago. Even if we don’t get a journeyman big, I believe we are a very competitive team that is bound for the playoffs. Donovan’s strategy for defending the pick and roll (expect a deep dive on that soon) seems to make up for a lot of lost height on this roster by maximizing the high IQ and length of our guards and wings. Can’t wait to see it in action tonight!
Performing well against bad teams is good sign. It means the team is playing consistently and beating the teams they are supposed to beat. I like what the Bulls did in the offseason. Having Ball, Derozen and Lavine gives them 3 pg/playmakers in the lineup, similar to what Coach Billy Donovan had in OKC with SGA, Paul and Schroader. Hopefully the Bulls can reproduce that OKC teams success this season
Donovan really loves those three-guard lineups, and this team is perfectly built for them. Given the size and experience of Lonzo, Lavine, DeRozan, and Caruso, we can mimic the dynamic offense of those Thunder teams while adding a more flexible defensive scheme. Plus, we will have more pace and shooting at the center spot with Vooch instead of Steven Adams. We’re in for an exciting season for sure!