Chicago Bulls media day followed the usual script. Everybody is 0-0, everything is happy and optimistic, and we get to hear two hours worth of how hard guys worked during the summer and how excited guys are for the upcoming season.
Here are the most interesting sound bites from each of the Chicago Bulls main speakers at media day.
Gar Forman/John Paxson/Fred Hoiberg:
Nobody would give an expectation for a win total next season. They wouldn’t even really provide a nebulous goal, it’s as if they saw our read on this situation and concurred.
John Paxson isn't caught up in the label of whether this is a "competitive" year or a"developmental" year for the #Bulls.— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) September 24, 2018
But don’t worry, everybody in the building ‘feels pressure’ (a.k.a: there’s no pressure)
- The Bulls are actively attempting to work out a contract extension with Bobby Portis ahead of the Oct. 18 deadline to do so. They view Portis as part of their core moving forward. He improved substantially last season on the offensive end, but his defense remains an eyesore.
- In the Bulls continued effort to enter modern basketball, Paxson said his team will utilize several small ball lineups next season. It’ll be interesting to see how these lineups actually look when the time comes.
- Probably the biggest disappointment of the day was that Paxson and Forman didn’t use questions about the drama with the Minnesota Timberwolves to make some petty comment about their former best friend Tom Thibodeau.
LaVine’s self-awareness seemed improved.
“I’ve always been really good on the ball, I’m not going to allow you guys to tell me that I’m not good on the ball. I’ve always had trouble off of it, weak side, stuff like that. That’s the main thing you try to focus on.”
But he also said that ‘everybody’ in the NBA can play defense. The Bulls defense will probably be horrendous next season. If LaVine actually worked on his off the ball defense and improves in that facet of the game that’d be huge for the Bulls.
LaVine also made mention of his weight loss to what he thought was an ‘ideal’ playing weight.
Frankly, Parker’s face time with the media wasn’t that interesting. He was hammered with questions about building continuity with his new teammates, but wouldn’t fall into the trap of speculating on a pecking order.
He also looked...less svelte than Zach LaVine
Dunn addressed a Joe Cowley report that the Bulls aren’t pleased with his work ethic, calling it ‘unprofessional’. Was Cowley standing just a few feet away when he said it? If so, awkward....
Also, give credit to Dunn for stepping up where what GarPax wouldn’t:
#Bulls' Kris Dunn: "One of our goals is to make it to the playoffs."— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) September 24, 2018
Finally, seven individuals into media day, someone expressed an expectation or at least a clear goal.
Wendell Carter Jr.:
Carter Jr. also didn’t get the memo that on media day you revert to the clichés and avoid making concrete expectations.
“We are going to be in the playoffs this year,” Carter Jr. told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Just that simple.”
Outside of downplaying his troll job of the Minnesota Timberwolves last week, Markkanen’s most interesting quip of the day came in the form of quantifying his muscular gains and then the ensuing Twitter exchange that happened after the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson tweeted out this information.
Added muscle should give Markkanen more positional versatility and make him a better paint defender than he was last season.
- The legend of Robin Lopez grew a little larger today.
not sure when robin lopez became doctor strange but honestly i’m cool with it pic.twitter.com/RNGqe7aluz— Jeremy Woo (@JeremyWoo) September 24, 2018
- Bulls television play-by-play announcer Neil Funk will cut his television duties by 20 games next season.