The Bulls will try to wrap up a perfect preseason when they host the Grizzlies on Friday night at the United Center. Normally there’s minimal interest in a preseason finale because we just want to see the real games already, but this one has a bit of added intrigue with the return of Patrick Williams from his sprained ankle.
Williams suffered the injury exactly a month ago, so he’s returning right at the very front end of his timetable of 4-6 weeks. It will be nice for the second-year man to get some reps in with his fellow starters before the games matter. After a rookie season filled with flashes of his potential, the Bulls are hoping for a more consistent player in Year 2 as the Bulls try to make a leap. His defense will be especially important on this roster, and he’s ready to take on the challenge.
Backup center Tony Bradley also returned to practice this week and is available to make his Bulls debut. He hasn’t played in the preseason because of a back injury. Bradley brings more size to the backup center role than Alize Johnson, but Johnson has impressed off the bench so far and is making his case for minutes.
On the other side, the Grizzlies have a promising young roster led by Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. Jonas Valanciunas and Steven Adams have switched spots at center, so there’s a bit of a different vibe there. Dillon Brooks is going to miss the start of the season as he recovers from a broken hand, so we won’t get to see him chucking shots. There are a number of other interesting young players on this team, so this should be a fun team.
Also, I didn’t even realize Kris Dunn is on this roster. Of course ... he’s out for Friday’s game. What’s new?
Given this is the last preseason game, we’ll see just how much the Bulls’ top guys play. Again, they’ll surely want to get Williams some extended run with them, but whether they get any “meaningful” second-half minutes remains to be seen.
At any rate, let’s see the Bulls finish off a perfect preseason. This game will tip off at 7 p.m. CT and is on NBC Sports Chicago. The Bulls are a 4.5-point favorite.