Tonight at 7:00 PM, the Chicago Bulls open up their preseason in a game at home against the Memphis Grizzlies. In a game that means practically nothing, we will get our first glimpse at the Derrick Roseless starting lineup / New Bench Mob the Bulls organization has thrown together this off-season.
There is a chance, however, that we may not be seeing the same starting lineup that we’ll be seeing come opening night. Joakim Noah has been overseas the past couple of days attending to some family matters, and although he’s supposed to return sometime today, he still may not play in the game.
This will give us a big opportunity to view and analyze the Bulls newest center in starting action : Nazr Mohammed and the Bulls 3rd center off the bench, Kyrylo Fesenko.
There are a few other things we’ll also be watching for tonight.
Will the offense be able to create their own shots? Richard Hamilton and Luol Deng have proven they are able to create their own shots… sometimes… but the Bulls will need a steady contribution of players playing aggressive, drawing fouls, and getting open.
Marco Belinelli off the bench is going to be able to get his own shots, which will be a big plus for getting points off the bench, especially considering last year the only player that did that on a consistent (although kind of annoyingly) basis was, now a Toronto Raptor, John Lucas III.
It’s also going to be interesting to see if Belinelli has learned how to play defense under the helm of Thibodeau so far. He is renown for being a good scorer yet a very weak defender, but as we as Bulls fans all know, Thibodeau is the best defensive coach in the league.
The health of Luol Deng’s wrist is also in question. Deng opted to play in the Olympics this year in his home country instead of getting wrist surgery. He did, however, play very well in the games, and Thibodeau has told us that his wrist is in good shape. We’ll see.
Kirk Hinrich is going to be the new floor leader for a majority of this season and it’s going to be important to see how he fills Derrick Rose’s shoes. We know he won’t score nearly as much as Rose did, but he has decent enough court vision and plays great defense.
And while were on the topic of point guards, Nate Robinson will be the guard coming off the bench come opening day, but it will be important to see if the Bulls’ first round draft pick Marquis Teague is improving his game. He had a very dismal summer league, and although he might not get a whole lot of playing time this year, he will most likely be on the team in the upcoming years as Rose’s backup. Any indication of improvement will be a big plus.
So join Neil Funk and Stacey King tonight at 7pm on Comcast SportsNet to get your first taste of the Chicago Bulls this season.
EDIT: At 12:46, Chuck Swirsky confirmed that Joakim Noah was going to be able to make the start tonight.