Chuck's Daily Check In: 7.20.18
Chuck updates you on the Bulls, LeBron, and other news around the League
Hey, Bulls Nation what's going on? Did you honestly think I could stay away the entire off season? Absolutely not! I love our fans throughout the world and I hope to hear from you about the Bulls' off season and then some.
Last time I posted a CCI column, Jabari Parker was a Buck, LeBron was a Cavalier. Kawhi Leonard was a Spur, DeMarcus Cousins was a Pelican, Melo was in OKC, Dwight Howard was somewhere in Charlotte, Isaiah Thomas was shopping for a new residence. Ok, you get my vibe, there has been plenty of activity and we're not done yet.
Where should I start? How about mid April? The Bulls finished the season with 27 wins but in the process we saw the continuing development of Lauri Markkanen who averaged 15 points and 7 rebounds a game. " The Flying Finn" gained confidence throughout the season and by year's end, Head Coach Fred Hoiberg initiated sets through Markkanen while he was advancing the ball over the time line. The sky is the limit for this young man and Bulls' fans will enjoy the journey.
The NBA draft produced Duke's Wendell Carter Jr and Chandler Hutchison. Carter Jr.'s wing span is a sweeping 7'4.5 and a 9'1 standing reach. He's a human fly swatter. He's an outstanding rim protector with an improving post up game. His three point shooting in college was an under valued part of his game and I look for that aspect of his repertoire to be an option as the season progresses.I absolutely love what he brings the Bulls and his work ethic and commitment to the "team" is authentic. Of course,, what would you expect from a player sporting the number "34" jersey joining the ranks of Charles Oakley , Mike Dunleavy and our two hoops analysts in Bill Wennington and Stacey King? Carter Jr. made first team all Summer League and without question, his "snatch and grab" block of Cleveland's Ante Zizic is one tasty appetizer of things to come.
Hutchison is a 6-7 player who has "game" in every phase of hoops. . I first saw him play his junior season in the NIT vs. Utah and was impressed as he netted 34 points. Last season , on late night TV, Boise State played San Diego St. lighting up the Aztecs for a career high 44 points . He scored the first 16 Broncos' points as they won on their home floor in front of a delirious crowd who embraced Chandler throughout his career.
Both Carter Jr. and Hutchison were extremely well coached in college. Both are high character people.
During the Summer League major news surfaced as it became official with Zach LaVine staying with the Bulls on a new four year deal. LaVine is a skilled offensive player who will improve defensively this season.
Then ten days later...
From Simeon High School...Jabari Parker is a Bull. He's home. He belongs here. Can't wait for opening night . Check that; I can't wait for pre season ball. You heard me.Pay attention... pre season ball. Camp is going to be extremely competitive. Like, super competitive.
Under the radar, the Bulls took care of Antonio Blakeney who can flat out score buckets. Need a hoop? Surely, you can count on AB and please..., " Don't Call Me Shirley " (From the movie Airplane 1980)
Coach Hoiberg and his staff will have a deep bench with plenty of options as the Bulls look to improve their fortunes from a season ago.
CCI News and Notes
LeBron James is now in Hollywood. No surprise here. He's living in the present with a four year deal hoping to collect a title before the sun sets on a brilliant top three player of all time career. After his career, James who is already comfortable on camera, will devote more attention to the business side of his ever growing media empire. I also believe he's hoping to see the day he can play either alongside or against his son who is currently 13 and drawing rave reviews by ballers everywhere. But for now James and a new cast of Lakers will attempt to derail the Warriors. Good luck on that. Magic Johnson on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" says , " He's not scared of the Warriors." LOL.
Magic isn't playing against them. Lance Stephenson is now a teammate of James.
Not a typo. The man who agitated and irritated James will now feed him the rock. Got to love the NBA. In fact ,Stephenson had to make sure it was cool with James that he was signing on the dotted line to join LA. Got to love the NBA.
Boogie is a Warrior—signed a one year deal and will be fresh when he returns the second half of the season from injury. What a pick up.
Loved the Pelicans fight last year but losing Rajon Rondo is huge.
The Spurs had no other choice and had to deal Leonard. Did they get enough back in return? Probably not. Listen, Leonard when healthy is a top five player in the NBA. DeMar DeRozan is an All Star player and that's terrific...he's just not a franchise player. He loved Toronto and the city loved him but the bottom line is it's a business. The Spurs did the best they could under painful and perplexing circumstances that led to a trade.If Leonard bolts Toronto after one season look for the Raps to reload with tons of money in 2020-21. Toronto has now moved in to the mix as the team to beat with Boston in the East with all due respect to the 76ers.
The regular season schedule will be released in August and one has to believe Christmas Day is Warriors-Lakers? Just a hunch. Lakers-Celtics?
The Western Conference is down and dirty. Real dirty. Every night it's going to be a battle. No nights off whatsoever.
Paul George reupped with the Thunder and OKC is on the verge of shedding a ton of money trading Melo to the Hawks. ( He will be waived according to published reports) Front runners: Houston ( tight with Chris Paul). Miami (tight with D-Wade).
Brooklyn GM Sean Marks is wheeling and dealing. The Nets are going to be big time players come the summer of 2019. Book it.
Collin Sexton is going to be a star for the Cavs. I'm already digging the 2018 draft class.
Indiana has done a masterful job upgrading its bench.
I sincerely hope Dwight Howard finds a home in DC. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever believe he'd become a journey man type player.
I expect the Pistons to be improved under a new coach and could quite possibly make the playoffs.
Can't wait to get going. Always a pleasure. I flat out love my job!
Thanks for reading CCI and Go Bulls!