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When Kelly Dwyer writes about the Chicago Bulls, we take notice

Sorting through Kelly Dwyer’s esoteric preview

NBA: Preseason-New Orleans Pelicans at Chicago Bulls Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Kelly Dwyer, the longest of long-time guys, has his own subscription-based website right now where you can find his words on the National Basketball Association.

On Monday, his season previews centered on the Chicago Bulls, complete with the wit and prose that always made Dwyer one of the better NBA writers out there, especially when it comes to his hometown team.

The most eye-popping line in the whole story first:

Cameron Payne would destroy you in a game of basketball, by the way.

People forget this, although to be fair Payne doesn’t always do a great job of helping them remember.

There’s lots of great stuff, I’m going to go through and attempt to make sense of it all.

Hoiberg could run the offense as he saw fit — the point guard picks up his dribble just over half-court, someone takes a look at the 30-second shot clock in time to call out a Delphic diagram, eventually a 6-8 guy from Diagonal, IA manages to bluff his way toward the one-and-one.

This is in reference to last season, likely starring Jerian Grant with a play that involves a lot of screens that really don’t do much and Zach LaVine or Bobby Portis taking a contested midrange jumper at the end of the shot clock.

Though let it be clear: the Bulls had no players who grew up in Iowa or went to Iowa State on their roster last season!

Denzel Valentine talks too loud for his batting average

Heh, subtle dig at Valentine after he praised himself as a good defender and that he was starting material last season. Dwyer is clearly not a fan of Valentine, later saying that Valentine is a big reason why the current Bulls don’t have chemistry.

He is a bigger fan of Wendell Carter and Robin Lopez though, the latter being a massive geek in a 7-foot body.

With rookie Carter joining the long-armed Dunn on the way toward the sort switch-and-stuff showing that buys time for the front office — a collection that continues to chase down arguments it long ago lost.


Wendell Carter Jr. doesn’t act his age, even with Robin Lopez imploring him (via an unending series of texts, mostly third season Rick and Morty memes) to cherish these moments, reminding the rookie that 19 will never happen again.

And Jabari Parker as the leader of this squad?

Parker is the sort of presence that you want to give a shot at running a locker room. Only a shot, mind you, but also enough to remind you why fellas like Cedric Maxwell get to stick around this league forever.

I could get down with that, though given his injury history it’s definitely up for debate whether Parker will make it 11 seasons in the NBA like Maxwell did.

And with Parker moving to PF, the Chicago Bulls probably should have kept David Nwaba.

would be really nice to slot a low-usage, athletic defender in year in the interim, with Lauri out, a real David Nwaba-type. LaVine is a good guy that will get much better but Bulls appear to assume that every interaction has to eventually reach a settlement that they feel part of.

I can’t say I know what Dwyer means by that LaVine line. There’s a later one about Ryan Arcidiacono being ‘featured on the CBS network quite a bit’ and that being a common trait on the Bulls roster that was more obvious.

And naturally we conclude with a 90’s Bulls reference, a subject which Dwyer is an expert in:

Bobby Portis — isn’t bad, he’s just excitable and this team’s front office is right to at least mind it while Portis is on a rookie contract — things will only become embarrassing if the front office does its usual with Corie Blount’s old agent.

In 1995, the Bulls capitulated to Mark Bartelstein and traded Blount to the Los Angeles Lakers because he was unhappy with his role and his playing time. Could a similar thing happen to Portis this season?

[Ed. note: consider this my endorsement of Dwyer, support independent writing with a $5/month subscription to his newsletter. It’s not a donation, you get content! -yfbb]