The Bulls open up the 2019-20 season with a busy week beginning with three games in four nights starting Wednesday in Charlotte.
A quick look at the Bulls opponents: Charlotte, Memphis and Toronto.
Wednesday: Bulls at Hornets. It's the NBA opener as the Bulls visit Charlotte. It's a new look Hornets team having lost their top two scorers in Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb. The loss of Walker is devastating. On any given night Walker was/is capable of going off for 22-30 points. He could handle the rock and dish it out. He loved the Charlotte community and they loved him. But the Hornets made a business decision as the Celtics swooped in and paid Walker four years at 141 million dollars after losing Kyrie Irving to the Nets. Terry Rozier left Boston for Charlotte and received 3 years 58 million. He will be the face of the franchise and will be called upon to perform at a high level every night. One of the more intriguing players on the Hornets roster is their number one pick, P.J. Washington out of Kentucky. Washington is a high IQ talent who plays defense, is coach able and will contribute offensively. Charlotte is in a major rebuild and can only hope to see growth during the upcoming season. Zach LaVine had a huge series against Charlotte last season and expect more of the same in 2019-20. Lauri Markkanen played once against Charlotte and scored 30 points.
Friday: Bulls at Memphis. The Bulls meet another rebuilding franchise as they face the Grizzlies. Memphis is going to hang its hat on two outstanding young players who have tremendous upsides in Jaren Jackson and Ja Morant. Jackson held his own last year yet now comes the hard part as he is on the scouting report of 29 other NBA teams. The sophomore season is always unforgiving for a young player and Jackson will quickly learn with great talent comes respect and respect means that teams want to shut you down. Jackson was solid averaging 13 per game but drew fouls that stopped his early game flow. He has a great future. Morant is a highlight every night. He's going to be a special, special player. Memphis has a new coach in 34 year old Taylor Jenkins who worked in the Hawks and Bucks system under Mike Budenholzer. The Grizzlies will stay the course, build through the draft and look to make wise free agent signings. Otto Porter Jr lit up the Grizz in Chicago a year a season ago.
Saturday: Raptors at Bulls. The defending NBA Champions Raptors pay the Bulls a visit without Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green each of whom bolted for Los Angeles. Leonard to the Clippers; Green to the Lakers. Leonard was fabulous for the Raptors. He single handily carried the Raps to the title. Don't shed any tears for the Raps however. Toronto has a boat load of talent led by Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam (with his newly minted max contract) and Rockford's very own Fred Van Vleet. The Raptors in all likelihood will not repeat but they will play hard and will compete nightly thanks to the leadership of Head Coach Nick Nurse.
The Bulls start the season playing four of their first five games on the road.
All games can be heard on 670 The Score with myself and Bill Wennington. Neil Funk and Stacey King have the call on NBCSC.
24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES:
The Lakers announced Kyle Kuzma will miss their season opener Tuesday against the Clippers with a stress reaction.
Always a pleasure.