Bulls vs Raptors 7pm on CSN

The Bulls are set to take on the Toronto Raptors at 7pm tonight and with the obvious exception of Carlos Boozer, may have a fully healthy roster.  C.J. Watson, who missed the last two games, is definitely playing while Ronnie Brewer is a game time decision after making it through a full contact practice Monday without incident.

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This is a game where the opponent certainly isn't going to sell you on watching the game.   Come out and see the stars!  How many chances do you get to see Jose Calderon or Andrea Bargnani?  

However, every Bulls game is a good game for us, and I think it's instructional to watch the Bulls teams you expect them to beat up badly to see if they can manage it.   So I bring you five things to look for in this game:

1: Can Ronnie Brewer play, and if so, what does he do? 
We can't get a real feel for the rotation in a pre-season game anyway, but I'm curious to see who he plays with, what kind of role he has in the offense, and how the Bulls play with no three point shooters on the floor.

2: Can C.J. Watson show us why we signed him and why Bulls fans were excited?
After a train wreck in his only pre-season performance, it'd be nice to see him notch a solid game under his belt tonight just to shut us up.   I'm not worried on C.J.'s shooting yet, but I do want to see better ball handling out of the guard.

3: Can the Bulls own the glass against a team they should easily own the glass against?  
Seriously, who on this team can rebound?   If the Bulls don't have a huge defensive rebounding percentage edge in this one then I'll be awfully disappointed.  Taj Gibson, in particular, needs to improve his rebounding effort while in the game.

4: Will Kyle Weaver continue to impress, and how will Tom Thibodeau even find minutes to find out with Brewer and Watson back? 
I think Weaver's play might warrant a roster spot, but Thibodeau might struggle to find enough minutes to make a decision, and he doesn't exactly fill a need.  Given his age and career playing time, it's possible that he's on the upswing enough to actually out play Bogans/Watson. 

5: How do our project players look?  
James Johnson put together his best game against Washington, can he continue to make quick, quality decisions with the basketball while letting the game come to him?   Omer Asik showed off his size, but also showed off a whole lot of things he'll need to work through, will we see visible progress as preseason wears on?  We don't have any draft picks, but we do have two young players fighting for roles on this team to keep an eye on.

While the result of a preseason game never matters much to me, I expect the Bulls to win this one and send Big Macs home for the fans.

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  • Did anybody else notice the NY Daily News story scrolling across the ESPN ticker last night?

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    ESPN seems like is dominated by NY based media who are NY area fans. I can guess a few things..
    1. The media(most in their 40s/50s/60s) are still smarting from the Bulls domination) and take every opportunity to screw up the Bulls.
    2. Even otherwise, ESPN has already lost its credibility during the LBJ drama. I just don't think they are better than a scrambled electronic receiver interpreting nonsense.
    3. NY media want Melo or some big star to come and Bulls are their biggest threat because of the big market competition.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I agree with what you are saying but I think the NY. media and It's fans know that the Bulls have more to offer in a trade package to Denver while the Knicks really don't have anything. I think that the N.Y. media knows something about where Melo really wants to go if he can't get to N.Y. at seasons end which is what the Knicks wants to happen but I really hope that Denver isn't that stupid and let Melo walk and they get nothing in return. I really do feel that Melo wants to sign with the Bulls if he can't get to N.Y. cause he does ultimately want to win. Out of the teams on his list, he knows that the Bulls gives him the best chance to contend for championship

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Give credit where it is due. The reason why JJ has gotten better is because of his dedication to loose weight and Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen. I expect to see great things from this kid as the season starts. He can give us good minutes, points, a steal or 2 and 5 rebounds a night.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I agree with the people on JJs side. He's an athletic guy who now has a good coach in Thibs, realizes he can find a nitch by playing D and has Scottie Pippen woking with him at times...let's see what this kid can do. Of course he needs to actually get some minutes this year.

  • I know this won't thrill Mr Happy, but I'd really like to see James Johnson get a decent amount of minutes. C.J. Watson is the other guy I'll be paying very close attention to.

  • QUESTION:

    Is Kyle Weaver outplaying James Johnson this pre-season?

    That's the battle to watch. Bogans can be moved to SF.

    SG - Brewer/Weaver/Bogans
    SF - Deng/Korver/Bogans

    James Johnson should have to EARN his way on this roster.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    James Johnson has played well thus far. Weaver has been decent and warrants further monitoring. I think it's tough to say one takes the other's minutes though as they have vastly different skill sets. I think putting Bogans at the 3 is a stretch as well. He is not even that big of a 2-guard, let alone leaving him out there to battle a 3. We all saw how dangerous that can be as evidenced by how Deng victimized Hinrich the other night.

    If anything we should send Watson's ass to the D-League and let Weaver take his minutes. JJ has played well thus far and, if his play maintains (big if, I know) he provides an element the Bulls don't otherwise have: playmaking from someone not named Derrick Rose.

  • In reply to DanFrystak:

    Give JJ Time

    I'm still a JJ fan (not always sure why). He's huge, quick, strong, didn't he guard LeBron straight up last year?

    He's a player on the wing that shows flashes of ball handling? Wasn't he our 15th or so pick?

    JJ has lot how much weight as a commitment to being in better shape? 20 pounds? 30 pounds? Has anyone tried losing weight lately (I've lost 50 pounds this year).

    We gave Tyrus Thomas how many years to become a pro? 3 years? 4 years?

    Didn't Noah finally show his best at the end of his 2nd year (steal from Paul Pierce)? Then he made an even better 3rd year?

    Now JJ has Thibodeau for a coach. VDN's best skill was putting up with the abhorrent team the Paxson and company put together. VDN was the best PR man ever. But from what we are seeing this early season, Thibodeau can actually improve team effectiveness with coaching. Is JJ actually learning under the tutelage of Scottie Pippen?

    I'm not a shill for JJ. But I do think we need to give him a 2nd year to see what he's got. It's Thibodeau's job to find a way to get JJ involved and ready for game time.

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    I agree. He's shown the commitment & desire to get better, his rookie year is out of the way, now give him a role, let Pippen work with him, let him spend hours watching film with Thibodeau, let him live in the gym working out & shooting 1,000 jumpers day, & see what happens.

    Outside of our starting lineup, we don't have any guys with the kind of upside he has. For years that kept Tyrus here, and this guy would appear to be similar, except he has about 1,000,000x a better attitude

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    C'mon...JJ was as good or better than Weaver even though Weaver was impressive last time.
    JJ has earned his roster space...that's not an issue. The issue is can he get some minutes and can get a role defined for him. JJ at a minimum will be the 3rd SF or 3rd stretch PF.
    Good improvement on your part of not calling him "Dickey"...he deserves better. He is a 2nd year player with a lot to improve.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    James Johnson is a lock to make the roster & should be, given that we don't have any drafty picks & only a few developmental players, and also that he clearly is putting forth the effort to get better. I think for those 2 reasons he is a lock to get his 3rd year option picked up by the end of the month. He will however have to earn his minutes.

  • Yes! There was a lot of crap that we won't see now, now that we have a real coach in Tom Thibodeau

  • I would like to see the Bulls give 1 role to JJ should he earn it, then should he perform and as his career continues, let him try a few different positions while doing a few different things. This is where the Pippen tutelage could come in, in unleashing his versatility. But start him off slowly, let him do 1 thing well, then add to it. I think he has the ability to play positions 1-4 in the future. Like Doug, with his personality, I am definately cheering for him.

  • It seems like every time we think somebody has earned a spot on the roster they get summarily dumped when the regular season begins or soon thereafter(Thomas Gardner, Derrick Byars etc.) But like I said the other day Weaver appears to have the attitude/presence that might give him a real shot. I'd hope they give him some minutes 12 or so to see if he can keep it up/show consistent production/package he brings to the table.

    After C.J. Watson's terrible debut, I decided to go over his hilights on youtube again( I checked them out when he was signed). Really, I didn't see a lot of skill moves with the basketball. What I saw was a lot of quick rushes to the basket, and him being able to finish time after time with contact. I was hoping to see more skills with the ball, and his shot is so flat footed/with no lift it makes me wonder about his shooting especially threes. Still, anyone with his active steals numbers, at least decent mid range shot, appears to have the tools to stick with a lot of guys one on one, and also shows some emotion/competitive attitude is probably the solid addition we thought he was. Let's hope so.

    I can't wait to see both he and Brewer playing legit minutes the next few games to get a better read on them with this team. Brewer just looks like a good basketball player, but you just wonder why Sloan let him go(salary or attitude issues)? And if J.J. can defend threes fine, but I still think he could be better served offensively as a hybrid four going against PF's/slower guys both on the block and at the top of the lane/key. Either way if he can bring a reliable set of skills without all the mistakes and foul prone ways that will help our depth for sure. You'd hate to see a guy like that's athleticism and innate passing skills go to waste. Especially if it turns out he can shoot/hit consistently from mid range.

    I hate missing games on WGN and local Chicagho broadcasts which are not shown outside of Chicago. I look forward to tonight's game. And I'm definitely getting NBA League Pass so I can see all the Bulls games this year.

  • Watson looking good too

  • Asik with the block on Barbosa....That is a good one. Barbosa is one of the fastest players. That bodes well for the future for Asik's defense..
    I think there is a lot of improvement with Asik from one game to another..

    Watson is showing why the Bulls signed him..

  • Watson. N asik are playing bananas right now Watson is 5-5 n 2-2 3pt n asik has 4 blocks with a 6 rebounds ...these are my players of the half lol there definitely earning their min...n giving us bulls fans a reason to b excited this year n overall the bulls are playing solid overall this game n showing us the potential this team has when everyone's in sync n on the same page ...wooooooohoooooo lets go Chi. Bully's ...no jordan no pippen, but were back yall...

  • I have to say I am liking Omer Asik more and more. He showing marked improvement from game to game. Who knew that a Boozer injury could turnout to be a good thing for the Bulls. I get the feeling that the more playing time Omer gets, the better he gets.

  • Bulls defense

    Forced 5 24sec violations so far ,7 blocks, n out rebounding them 28-13 so far......solid

  • Man, Thibs is putting together something special! I can feel it1

  • 1st career triple double?

    Noah 14pts 11reb 7 wat n still a whole quarter left....noahs flirting wit one look for him to pass more to try n get it,,,only pre season but still fun to watch

  • I meant 7ast sry got a lil excited for a sec

  • LeBron left with a cramp... probably menstrual

  • Noah with 16 and 14 with 7 dimes?? Joakim the Dream.. best passing center in the NBA(or close to it). Watson had some smooth shooting. If Asik could learn thsoot even 57-60% FT's he'd be not a viable rotation player, but a good one. Dude can block some shots, and is a natural rebounder. Needs to work on finsihing better around the rim/basket too, but he's got something it seems.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    to shoot, sorry typos=too fast fingers watching hilights

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    Doug, what do you think Asik still needs to work on (besides free throws) as well as James Johnson in order to become effective and consistent role players?

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