As noted yesterday, the Bulls have a reasonably soft schedule to kick off the season and should look to build momentum early. The Kings are a team struggling through tough times with a mismatch of athletic young players that don't necessarily fit together or complement each other. They're dangerous in that they're stacked with talent but through last season lacked focus, teamwork, and purpose.
Contain the Kings athleticism
The Kings have significant athletic advantages at many positions on the court, particularly in the starting lineup where the Bulls probably play with a small athletic disadvantage at every position on the floor against the Kings.
Rip Hamilton will need to work hard to cover Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins is the big physical center type that gives Joakim Noah fits and Asik is no longer here to guard. Thomas, Thompson, and Johnson aren't particularly dominant players, but all of them likely have speed on their Bulls counterparts.
The Bulls should focus on keeping this game in the half court when the Kings have the ball and only pushing the pace high when they have opportunities for fast breaks. They don't want this to turn into a run up and down battle.
Buckle down on defense
The Kings bench have plenty of scorers in both the starting lineup and coming off the bench. What they lack is distributors and ways to maximize the scoring talent they have. The Bulls will need to play solid fundamental defense to slow down what I expect is plenty of one on one offense from the Kings.
If the Bulls can stifle ball movement and make Sacramento work for every shot, then they should contain their offensive players. The Kings have plenty of guys who can create their own shot, but no guys who are so dominant they should beat you. Keeping them out of a team game is the key to keeping them from playing efficiently.
Move the ball, work the system on offense
The Kings don't bring a bunch of strong defensive pieces to the table in terms of discipline and fundamentals. They have strong defensive potential due to athleticism, but they've yet to realize it. If the Bulls work the system, move the ball, and play patiently they should find plenty of quality looks through the system.
Expect Rip Hamilton and others to create some easy baskets by getting behind a Kings defense that may not get back quick enough.
Who can step up on the bench?
The Kings have plenty of talent on their bench to turn to. Thomas Robinson's an NBA ready rookie big man with a quality all around game. Aaron Brooks looked like a near all-star caliber PG just a couple of years ago, Marcus Thornton can fill it up Ben Gordon Chicago style, and Jimmer Fredette, Fransisco Garcia, and John Salmons are still left on the bench as well.
The Bulls bench doesn't look quite so fierce where their best scorer so far is Nate Robinson. Taj Gibson provides defense while Nazr Mohammed has looked solid on both ends of the court. The Bulls need Marco Belinelli or Jimmy Butler to step up and give them something, or they'll be riding the starters big minutes.
Bulls win. This Kings team has plenty of dangerous pieces, but I don't think they're ready to put them together on a consistent basis which puts the Bulls in good position to take this game. Chicago's lack of go to players on offense should be overcome with smart play and against a sketchy defense, and their defensive fundamentals should be enough to halt a sometimes disorganized Kings offensive attack.