The Chicago Bulls got the 2018-2019 season underway at the Advocate Center yesterday with much optimism and excitement surrounding the young team.
Last year was a brutal year, not due to the fact that the Bulls won a total of 27 games, but because they failed to land a top 5 pick in the NBA Draft.
After shipping away superstar Jimmy Butler and acquiring Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen, and Zach LaVine, the team focused on rebuilding and the development of their young stars.
Which we all know as the term called tanking.
This backfired as Nikola Mirotic played the best stretch of basketball in his career nearly pushing the Bulls into the 8th seed before being traded away for a first round pick. The Bulls 27 wins ultimately landed the seventh pick and they acquired the 22nd pick from the Mirotic trade. These picks led to Duke freshman Wendell Carter and Boise State senior Chandler Hutchison.
And after retaining Zach LaVine and signing Chicago native Jabari Parker, the roster is starting to fill out nicely.
After a whole offseason of training, the Baby Bulls are ready to showcase their talents and prove that they are not a team to be taken lightly. Despite what Gar Foreman and John Paxson want, these players are in no mood for a tank season again and believe they have what it takes to make the playoffs.
Coming into camp all but one position is certain in the starting lineup. Yes, the center position. 11 year veteran Robin Lopez and Summer League Star Wendell Carter will be vying for that spot all training camp.
Coach Hoiberg is loving what he’s seen from the 19-year-old big man especially on the defensive side of the ball where the Bulls struggled mightily last season.
Hoiberg spoke to the media praising the rookie on his first day of training camp. ”Wendell’s not backing down at all, he’s playing psychical, and made some unbelievable plays at the rim defensively.”
He also had some praise for his veteran center, Robin Lopez, valuing his professionalism and a great mentor for the team.
Carter spoke about what he’s learned from Lopez, “Simply playing against him I learned how he plays defense, how he scores out of the pick and roll, and how he scores in the post without using too much effort.”
Don’t worry we didn’t forget about you Robin.
The Bulls were horrible at protecting the rim last year so plugging Carter in at the center position while simultaneously developing their youth makes perfect sense. But experience is a huge factor.
We’ll see how it all plays out soon enough.
Bobby Portis also spoke about on how he’s embraced the sixth man role and his contribution to the team. “ Everybody wants to start in this league. I just want to be a star in my role.”
Well said Bobby. The 6’10 power forward has come off the bench his whole career while knowing he could start for many other teams in the NBA. He’s never complained about playing time but now it seems like he’s fully committed to being the spark off the bench.
“I like the role. I get to come off the bench and score a lot. Who doesn’t like to score the ball? It’s a fun gig.”
Bobby is entering a contract year so expect hard play and excitement out of him.
Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Jabari Parker, Lauri Markkanen, Robin Lopez/ Wendell Carter, and Bobby Portis have much to improve on. But as year two of the rebuild closes in, much positivity surrounds the Chicago Bulls.
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