So far this Chicago Bulls pre-season has offered us a mixed bag of results. After winning the opener against New Orleans, the following game against the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t go so well. As expected Fred Hoiberg wasn’t happy with the performance on Wednesday:
Hoiberg's day after assessment of Milwaukee debacle: "Last night was every bit as bad as we thought. We had the wrong guys taking the ball out of bounds. We had no rhythm on the offensive end. Defense was awful all night."— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) October 4, 2018
Chicago should be looking for a better performance after four days off as they come back home to face the Charlotte Hornets.
It’s a season of new beginnings on the management side for the Hornets after they let GM Rich Cho and head coach Steve Clifford walk this summer. Charlotte got a household name as Cho’s replacement in former Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and hired James Borrego, a former assistant with the San Antonio Spurs, as their new head coach. In terms of the roster construction, the Hornets retained a lot of their guys and still have an All-Star point guard Kemba Walker. Charlotte has some young players with potential, drafting Miles Bridges in this years draft after taking Malik Monk in 2017. They also got some backup point guard help by signing Spurs legend Tony Parker. The expectations for the Hornets will trying to fight for a lower seeded playoff spot. The Eastern Conference is top heavy so the bottom seeds are up for grabs.
Charlotte has gotten off to a good start in the pre-season, going 2-1 so far with wins over the Celtics and Heat. Walker is playing like his usual self and Bridges has looked really encouraging. It will be a tough assignment for Kris Dunn when it comes to guarding Walker. Dunn is Chicago’s best perimeter defender and will constantly need to be at his best for the Bulls not to get cooked defensively. Chandler Hutchison could have his hands full guarding Bridges so it will be interesting to see how he fares against the Michigan State product. Hutchison has struggled so far this pre-season and it would be nice for him to have a bounce back game, even if it’s only on the defensive end.
As far as the injuries go, the Bulls are still without Lauri Markkanen (elbow) and Denzel Valentine (ankle). Zach LaVine was taken out of the Bucks game as he suffered a right thigh contusion. He subsequently missed practice on Thursday but according to KC Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, LaVine was getting up shots in practice on Friday, so it’s very likely he’s playing tonight
For the Hornets, the only real injury concern they have is for forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He suffered a concussion in their second pre-season game against Boston and hasn’t played or practiced since.
Time: 6 PM CT
TV: NBC Sports Chicago