The new-look Bulls have generated hype throughout the offseason and after a perfect preseason are finally playing real games tonight.
Well, sort of. The opponent in the 2021-22 season opener is the Detroit Pistons, who were league doormats last year and should be this year too even after winning the draft lottery and selecting Cade Cunningham #1 overall.
Unfortunately, from an aesthetics point of view, Cunningham is not playing tonight due to a sprained ankle.
So what remains is a lot of last year’s Pistons. You may recall (but probably don’t) they had a pretty promising draft class of Killian Hayes (#7 in the 2020 draft), Isaiah Stewart (#16) and Saddiq Bey (#19). They nailed their free agent signing of Jerami Grant, who went from a role player in Denver to an almost-AllStar in his first year for Detroit.
But, as previously stated, they stunk last year and jettisoned several players at the trade deadline. From that period remains veterans off the bench in Cory Joseph, Josh Jackson, and and Hamidou Diallo. They’ve added Trey Lyles, and swapped out Mason Plumlee for Kelly Olynyk. It looks like Frank Jackson will start in Cunningham’s place?
This is all to say the Bulls really should win, and easily. They have shown in the preseason they can impose their will and not let off the gas against lesser teams, and this Cunningham-less Pistons squad is definitely lesser. It is on the road, so that’s some kind of negative factor.
Just Coby White out for the Bulls.
And for the Pistons, beyond Cunningham it’s other rookies Isaiah Livers and Chris Smith who are also listed as out.
Game Time: 6pm Eastern, your usual local channels and NBA League Pass