Deny, Deny and Deny!
For all the angst many in the media expressed as to how bad the Bulls were going to be defensively, just the opposite was the case in the preseason. Chicago collected no less than 10 steals per game and forced opponents to turn the ball over a whopping 76 times (19.0). In fact, the Bulls held opponents to an average of just 96.5 points while scoring 118, both of which ranked second in the league.
How did they do it? By sticking their collective noses into the passing and driving lanes and refusing to allow free runs to the rim. They'll need to continue down this path tonight and all throughout the season to make serious noise. Defense is contagious, and Chicago has some pretty solid defenders in the likes of Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Alize Johnson, Javonte Green and Tony Bradley, all of whom should play a lot this year. Believe it or not, Nikola Vučević, DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine also turned heads with active hands and defensive pressure in the preseason as well. Good communication, and recognizing the right moments to rotate, as well as locating and running knock-down shooters off the 3-point arc will make the Bulls an effective defensive team.