Positive signs from Bulls’ Pre-season Tip-off
It’s been a dizzying week for Bulls’ fans everywhere.
We witnessed our new forward, Carlos Boozer, go down unceremoniously with a hand injury, which was worthy of a Sammy Sosa sneeze – or a Kerry Wood slip in the hot tub.
Bulls’ fans also could nearly be heard collectively gulping at the moment we all heard Joakim Noah would be getting paid like an All-Star. This being the case, despite the fact that he has not been an All-Star… yet.
When you factor in the release of EA Sports’ “NBA 2k11” video game (featuring Michael Jordan) and Tuesday night’s pre-season opener versus the Milwaukee Bucks, the past couple of days have been an emotional roller-coaster for us Bulls’ fans…
Despite losing to Milwaukee, 92-83, there are still plenty of pluses that Tom Thibodeou can take solace in.
Kyle Korver is moving well, with and without the ball. Though, he isn’t going to add a slasher to the rim, his game is fundamentally-sound and his foot work is stellar. Korver can work well off of back-screens and can simply shoot the lights out, and proved it by torching the Bucks over and over again.
Jerry Sloan’s system of constantly drawing quick plays for shooters and slashers is a concept that Korver is well accustomed to, and will work well in Thibodeau’s offensive scheme.
The key for the Bulls, on the offensive end, is constant movement. We witnessed plenty of that from C.J. Watson, who has an extremely helter-skelter style-of-play (learned from his days with the former Nellie Warriors). Against Milwaukee on Tuesday, he was perhaps a little bit too unstable because of his unpredictability with the ball in his hands. But time should help him adjust into the system. He definitely adds a competent ball-handler to the Bulls’ offense, to go alongside (and play behind) Derrick Rose, at the combo-guard role.
We can all look forward to plenty of Stacey King ‘oo-Wahhtson’ exclaimations this season.
Ronnie Brewer sat out of the Milwaukee game. But, like his former Utah Jazz teammate Korver, he moves extremely well without the ball. He and Korver should be used to playing on the court at the same time by this point. We should all expect to see these two players complement one-anothers’ individual scoring styles – Kyle Korver ducking around Taj/Noah/Boozer screens to get open looks, and Ronnie Brewer’s ability to slash and finish around the rim with athleticism.
Another huge plus sign for Chicago is their new found intensity on the defensive end. It is starting to sink in that the complacent “Vinny Del Negro days” in Chicago really are over. The Bulls haven’t been talking and communicating this frequently on defense since Scott Skiles was still the coach.
The Bulls were getting into Milwaukee passing lanes and causing havoc, forcing 24 turnovers out of the hands of the Bucks. We are bound to see a “run-and-gun” Bulls team in 2010-11 – especially if the Bulls can continue to hound the opposition by forcing turnovers. Getting easy baskets will be crucial to Chicago’s success running the fast-break this season. Fortunately, turnover-differential is a stat where the Bulls tend to excel as a team in recent years.
Omer Asik and, obviously, James Johnson still need work. But once Carlos Boozer and Ronnie Brewer have both made their Bulls’ on-court debut, this will be a team to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls’ second exhibition game will be, on Thursday at 8:30 PM, in Dallas against the Mavericks.