The Chicago Bulls start to the NBA season came with a lopsided loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. To be fair, the 76ers are supposed to compete for the championship and the Bulls are still rebuilding. Adding insult to injury, the Bulls were missing three of their young players, as Lauri Markkanen and Denzel Valentine suffered injuries in the preseason and Kris Dunn was excused from the team to attend the birth of his son.
The Bulls were already short handed without three of their young players, something that could have tipped the game into Chicago’s favor, but they still showed some good, and horrid, moments. The good came from Zach LaVine, Wendall Carter Jr., and Bobby Portis, but downright disastrous came from Jabari Parker, the team’s overall defense, and lack of depth. It was the first game of the season, so this is something to build off of.
Despite the 19-point loss, not everything looked dire for the Bulls. They came out FIRING in the first quarter, dropping 41 points. They literally couldn’t miss a shot as they sunk 13 straight shots over six minutes. If this is a sign on how high-powered the Bulls offense can be, then some of these games over a grueling season are going to be extremely entertaining. But, the first quarter ended, and so did the good feelings.
The Bulls eventually lost 127 to 108. On a positive note, LaVine showed why the Bulls signed him to a four-year contract. He dropped 30 points on 11-19 shooting, along with five rebounds and three assists. If he can continue this, it will prove that the Bulls were smart to sign him, even if the price tag was high.
Portis, whom the Bulls didn’t sign to an extension, had the second highest point total on the Bulls with 20. It continued a trend that Portis can really get his game going when he needs it to. Overall, he dropped a double-double, grabbing 11 rebounds in addition to 8 of 15 shooting. Portis is officially playing for a contract as the team didn’t extend him prior to the season.
Wendall Carter Jr., the team’s selection with the 7th overall pick in the most recent NBA draft, actually got the start, and he had a roller coaster night. His first defensive possession resulted in a foul, but that didn’t stop him from attempting to battle for rebounds throughout the night. He only scored eight points, and had four fouls overall, but it was a good learning experience for the rookie. Over time, he will improve.
Jabari Parker added 15 points off the bench, but 13 came in the second half when the game was already out of reach. HIs defense was horrid, to say the least, as his first defensive possession allowed his man to just attach his feet and score without much opposition. And it went downhill from there.
The defense, which was already something that was going to be a drastic concern for Chicago, was terrible, and that’s an understatement. The team literally allowed a wide-open 3 off a jump ball…from center court. The transition defense was non-existent, and the pick-and-roll was abysmal. Either way, the team is going to have to improve if they want to win ANY games this season.
Not everything is doom and gloom. Even though the Bulls’ depth was lacking, they were literally missing two starters and a key bench player. Once Markkanen and Dunn return, with the latter set to return soon, they will score more. The team is still rebuilding, and perhaps another high-draft pick, along with signing a star from this loaded free-agency class, will propel the Bulls to reverence in the NBA again.