After a long couple of summer months, Chicago Bulls basketball is finally back. The 2022-23 campaign officially tips off tonight with the start of pre-season. This will be Chicago’s first game since their defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5 of the first round of the NBA playoffs.
The Bulls will have four preseason bouts till the games start to actually count on October 19th in Miami.
[Tonight’s game is on TNT, but I don’t think #TNTBulls applies to preseason]
One of the big stories surrounding Chicago will be how their team can improve despite only a handful of changes in the offseason. Three new faces are expected to be added to the rotation in Andre Drummond, Goran Dragic, and rookie Dalen Terry. Tonight will be the first time Bulls fans get to take a look at these guys in a Chicago uniform and see where their potential fit on the team is. It will be interesting to see how Terry adjusts to the speed of the NBA game and what his minutes situation looks like. Although the preseason isn’t like regular season, it will be a step up from Summer League. He won’t get handed a lot of minutes and will have to work his way into more playing time by playing well off the bench and during preseason.
There is also the debate about who should be the starting point guard in absence of Lonzo Ball. It already has been announced that he will miss the start of the regular season so the pressure is now on Chicago to figure out if Ayo Dosunmu or Alex Caruso will be the starter moving forward. While the lineups haven’t officially announced at the time of writing, it does seem like Dosunmu *may* be the starter:
Zero promises but Bulls gameday notes list Ayo as a "Prob-a-Bull" starter for tomorrow's preseason opener pic.twitter.com/3OqsL8mTH8— Will Gottlieb (@wontgottlieb) October 3, 2022
Now this is just for the first preseason game and could change when the Bulls play on Friday. Other than that, the starting lineup looks to be the usual starters from last season.
Chicago’s opponent will be the New Orleans Pelicans. They also made the playoffs last season and pushed the Phoenix Suns to a grueling six games in the first round before bowing out. Willie Green’s team will be looking to improve up on their fantastic season as welcome back one of the members of their young core.
After missing all of last season due to foot surgery, Zion Williamson is set to return to the Pelicans. This will be a huge boost to a team that already seems to have young cornerstones in place along with players like CJ McCollum who can provide scoring from the perimeter. Who knows how much Zion will play in tonight’s game given it’s his first game back in a long time and preseason but if he does, the Bulls are going to have to develop a plan to make sure he doesn’t find a lot of scoring opportunities in the paint. It may be Patrick Williams who matches up against Williamson and it will be a task to try and slow him down. This will be a good first defensive test of the season for Williams.
Other than Ball, Justin Lewis is only other Bull out for tonight as he continues to work his way back from ACL injury that he sustained earlier this summer.
As for the Pelicans, Brandon Ingram and McCollum are listed as questionable with a left toe and right ankle soreness respectively. Kira Lewis is out as he’s recovering from an ACL injury to his right knee.
Time: 8:30PM CT
Odds: The Bulls are 2.5 point favorites in this game with the total being set at 217.5 although you can still find 217 at some places (via the Action Network)