The Chicago Bulls opened the 2021 season with a dominating performance dismantling the Cleveland Cavaliers 131-95.
While this was a pre-season game, the anticipation of this new Bulls core was what the fans have been clamoring for since the early 2010’s. The additions of Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso and DeMar DeRozen were much anticipated debuts and they did not disappoint.
The efficiency the Bulls showed on both ends of the court was spectacular. Adding athleticism in the back court and the wings had the Bulls playing outstanding defense and pushing the ball with pace.
The Chicago Bulls new pieces looked the part adding a sense of versatility on both ends of the court.
The evolution of the Bulls roster was fascinating to watch this past offseason. You can see that there was a clear sense of direction based on the players the team acquired both via free agency and trade.
The goal was to become dynamic on both ends of the court. The Bulls ranked 17th in offensive efficiency and 12th in defensive efficiency last season — ultimately leading to an 11th place finish in the East.
On the offensive side of the ball, we wanted to see how the offense would gel with so many ball dominant players.
The Bulls defused that concern by sharing the ball and getting out in transition. The team had four players with 10+ shot attempts while assisting on 70% of made field goals.
The multitude of ball handlers brings a dynamic to this Bulls offense they haven’t had in some time. In recent memory, it was the Zach LaVine show. Now, the Bulls can come at you with a variety of ball handlers which gives Billy Donovan the luxury to attack defenses in many different ways.
Meanwhile, the Bulls added two time All-star Nikola Vucivic last season making him the perfect recipient of all pick n roll and pick n pop action. Albeit, Vucivic didn’t have the best shooting night going 5-13 from the field, he is a career 17/10 guy that is as dependable as they come.
While the offense was firing on all cylinders, i would be remiss to give the defense a huge round of applause.
With the additions of Ball and Caruso, the Bulls are able to go toe to toe with any back court in the league. Thus, taking pressure off LaVine and DeRozen to do their thing on the offensive side of the ball.
The ability to throw multiple bodies at premier scorers is another luxury Donovan has at his disposal and it doesn’t end with the starters because of the depth they have created.
Overall, this Bulls team looks complete. With role players such as Javonte Green and Troy Brown Jr. stepping up off the bench, there was little to no downfall to the Bulls performance when the starters were out.
I know it ‘s just pre-season, but to do this without the likes of Coby White, Patrick Williams and Tony Bradley, should be really encouraging for what is to come for this newly assembled Bulls team.
The future is now which is something we haven’t been able to say in some time. The next step is to build on this performance as the Bulls take on the New Orleans Pelicans on October 8th at 7pm. See Red.