Chuck's Daily Check In - 9.30.2019 - Media Day!
Ahead of Media Day, Chuck looks at some of the main storylines facing the Bulls this season, and shares updates from around the NBA
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So where should I start?
No predictions. None. Should the Bulls be better than a year ago? Absolutely. Are they a playoff team? Only time will tell. The Bulls won 22 games a season ago so it will take a significant gain to reach 40-43 wins but it's not impossible. A 13-15 game win improvement would be considered a successful season in my opinion but you play the game on the floor not in social media.
In order to be in the thick of it come April the first point of business is to stay healthy. The Bulls lost three hundred man games to injuries. You can't have your best players in street clothes. In addition, the Bulls need to play better at home. Much better. The Bulls won only nine games at the United Center. Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen are on the cusp of being All Stars and it would be outstanding to see both home town players represent the city at All Star Weekend here in Chicago. LaVine and Markkanen need to take their games to the next level. They are very capable of doing so. They have the skill set to do so.
Wendell Carter and Otto Porter Jr. are core players that will be counted on to supply production and consistency. Porter Jr. is more than just a wing/ corner three point shooter. The Bulls opened up their playbook for Porter Jr. and we saw his versatility increase even more than his previous run with Washington that featured a ball dominant backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal. In the case of Carter Jr., it's imperative he stays out of early foul trouble that saddled him during his brief rookie season. There is no doubt Wendell has all the ingredients to become an impact player in the NBA.
The point guard position is up for grabs and will be heavily scrutinized from day one in camp. Kris Dunn is a very proud individual and has heard the critics. He is a fierce competitor and will not concede anything. One of the best pickups of the entire 2019 free agency landscape was the Bulls acquisition of Tomas Satoransky. I've always liked his grit, toughness and basketball savvy. He is a winning, plus player. He is definitely in the mix to start opening night in Charlotte. The on/off court culture received a boost with the addition of Thaddeus Young. Young has been a durable, consistent NBA player. He's also been a tremendous teammate and is a winning player. This was a solid pickup.
First round choice Coby White will grow in to his role as a point guard-two guard and expect to see him at both positions this season. He has an incredible upside. Remember, he is 19. Patience, please. Daniel Gafford, second round pick from Arkansas, is a gazelle running the floor. He is a rim protector and a high energy talent.
Bulls Vice President John Paxson will address the media today (coverage Bulls.com, the mobile app & on all social platforms) and they will detail the status of Denzel Valentine and Chandler Hutchison.
Head Coach Jim Boylen brings passion, fire, energy, encouragement and commitment to the Bulls. He has been very transparent with his players. A new look staff with the additions of Chris Fleming and Roy Rogers will add seasoned experience to the bench.
I can't wait to get going.
NBA NEWS & NOTES:
Zion. Zion. More Zion! The new face of the NBA is everywhere. Like, everywhere! On NBC last night he hyped up last night's game Saints and Cowboys game. He's got the fame, fortune and hype... now the hard part... living up to it. I wish him all the best. I have never met him but he comes across confident but not arrogant and has a glowing smile.
Lakers or Clippers? I'm going with LAC. Speaking of the Clippers, Paul George will miss the pre season, still recovering from off season surgery on both shoulders.
Who wins the West? Clippers, Lakers, Nuggets, Rockets? Don't sleep on Portland. Are the Kings headed to the post season?
No time line on the return of Indiana's Victor Oladipo. The offense will run through Malcolm Brogdon who inked a mammoth 4 year-85 million dollar deal in the off season.
Bucks or Sixers in the East? Philly. Jimmy Butler is in Miami. The Heat missed the playoffs by two games. With the Hornets in a rebuild and the Wizards totally banged up, should one should assume Miami is in? Can Orlando sustain its late season run and make the post season two straight years?
Smart move by the Heat locking up Eric Spoelstra to a long term deal. He is an excellent coach.
At a recent press conference Heat President Pat Riley said there are three things he cannot tolerate: "Complaining, gossiping, not working hard. I can't stand that. If players start to complain, start to gossip, start to become cynical about things, I have a hard time with that." Love it.
Pre season is just that BUT....I am anxious to see the Bucks, Pelicans and Hawks at the United Center. Each team has story lines. Can the Bucks win the East after blowing a 2-0 series lead against the Raps in last season's EC Finals? Zion and the new look Pels look to establish a new identity in New Orleans after trading Anthony Davis. The Hawks continue to stockpile young talent and will be an interesting team to follow this year.
Don't forget ALL pre season and regular season games will be broadcast on 670 The Score. First game is October 7th at 6:45 pre vs. Milwaukee.
Always a pleasure, Chuck Swirsky