33.3% shooting is rarely fun to watch. Throwing in sub-70% from the line and at least 10 turnovers coming off sloppy passes, and you'd think we're talking about the mid -00's Charlotte Bobcats.
And yet, Chicago's preseason opening win over the Bucks was about as entertaining a game I've seen in well over a year from these Bulls. The ball was moving, shots were launched without hesitation, opportunities were given to the youngsters, and even Jordan Crawford made Mark Karantzoulis go "Ooooh!" for a brief second. It was one of those games where the expectation of familiarity was completely thrown out the window and replaced in its entirety with refreshing change, and completely new concepts.
39 triples were launched against Milwaukee. 39. Had this been a regular season game, it would have been a Chicago Bulls record. And in Fred Hoiberg's debut no less. The 22.3 attempts a game from last year? Expect a solid increase in that number for this season.
What to take away from the game:
- The Bulls were able to score while missing Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson, Mike Dunleavy, and Kirk Hinrich. That's three starters and a sixth man not playing, and 105 points were put up. It might be preseason, but that shouldn't belittle just how important that is going forward.
- Doug McDermott will be a hit-or-miss type of guy this season, but when he's hitting, he's actually changing the whole infrastructure of the game. When he started hitting, everything changed. Milwaukee began rushing out to get him, eventually sticking to him like glue because they couldn't handle another three knocked down on the fast break. And that's the point of it all. It doesn't matter if McDermott scores 23, or eight. If defenses sticks a man on him and ask that defender to not give him an inch of space, it means the Bulls as a result will get spacing. Hello Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, care to enjoy limited help defense on this possession as you drive towards the hoop?
- Remember when I proposed that Nikola Mirotic was going to become a 6/6 player? In 23 minutes, he took 10 free throws and five triples.
- Bobby Portis may have shot 2-for-12 in his debut. And I couldn't care less. 14 boards, eight free throw attempts, and the dude had more confidence than I ever imagined. He was hyping up the crowd, screaming at his teammates, crashing the glass, and did under no circumstance look like a rookie out there. This won't be permanent of course. There'll be times where the deer in the headlights observations will be made, but I have a sneaky suspicion that it will be considerably less than we think.
- Joakim Noah moved better. But that's about it. Thankfully, for the time being, this is enough of an improvement to be slightly optimistic. But he still has some ways to go.
- Finally, Jimmy Butler. I have nothing to add other than, I think Mr. Karantzoulis may be right.
Tonight, it's Denver. McDermott was initially slotted to start, but Fred Hoiberg decided to give Tony Snell another shot, but promised he would start Doug at some point during this preseason. Gibson and Gasol remain out, but returning will be Kirk Hinrich.