Discover more from BlogABull.com
Bulls vs. Thunder game preview: it's opening night!
And the feeling's "meh"
Welcome to BlogABull for season number…oh god no…twenty-one?!?!
This is the first season on Substack and its more newsletter-forward functionality. Also my first season in a long long while without a staff of writers.
This will impact game coverage to be sure. I can’t guarantee a new preview+thread+postgame post for every game - there’s 82 of these suckers - but it’s somewhat freeing to not have to feed the SEO beast with those “quick-caps”.
sign up with email and you don’t have to wonder when there will be posts, they’ll be delievered!
And we get to try out the Chat functionality. We did so for the draft and free agency and I think it worked well.
Game Preview - Oklahoma City Thunder
Part of the malaise I expressed in this week’s two-part season preview concerned how Bulls management has not only underwhelmed with lack of activity but they are talking like a team that doesn’t expect to be very good. They’ve said they want to be good, and think they’re good, but have couched it so much with a lot of “the players have to figure it out” and “the rest of the conference got worse” and “we were actually happy with competitive losses” that you can kind of see through this false confidence. I know players are a different breed, but that kind of weak confidence heading into the season has to seep in their heads if they lose some early season matchups.
Tonight's matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder is an example of how strange & lame these stated expectations sound.
Are the Thunder a 'good team we want to be competitive with at home'? Does Bulls management internally feel they’re a big favorite here (gambling line is hovering around 1-1.5 point favorite), or are they content merely playing close?
The Thunder were identical to Bulls in record and play-in defeat last year. This year they’re projected to be better, while the Bulls worse. This is according to Chicago’s plan though, because the Thunder are in the better conference and therefore not the Bulls’ concern.
I think the Bulls could be somewhat better via incremental improvements made on the edges of the rotation plus internal improvement from the starting young players Coby White and Patrick Williams. The Thunder have a much more dynamic addition in Chet Holmgren, who’s making his NBA debut tonight after sitting out last season due to injury.
I derisively believe the Thunder are money-laundering frauds until proven otherwise, but that’ll be after the trade deadline. For now they’re mostly together and looking to win. A little side-project I’ve been kicking around is
stealing honoring Fangraphs.com’s Roster Resource pages for MLB teams and applying them to the NBA. I think it’s a cool way to see how teams are put together.
Here’s my first try at this…looking at The Thunder:
I don’t mean to keep mocking the Bulls stated ethos, but they keep saying it to where it may actually be what they genuinely believe: they feel “additions” really can screw up a team, and instead continuity (and its sister-word, cohesion) will give the Bulls a leg up in the early part of the season.
We’ll see! They could be right. As I said in the preview, while the preseason means nothing and I wouldn’t think things were fixed if they had a great run, the fact that they couldn’t really do what they wanted to change the offense even in practice games does not bode well.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they shoot even fewer threes but use their size advantage. Beyond Holmgren, who’s a twig, there isn’t much in the OKC frontcourt to defend the rim or the offensive glass. So that could get them a win, and would we really gnash teeth over it being done via Stacey King Simple Game theory?
No, because they really need these wins! The Bulls have preemptively given up on beating the top of the East and most of the West, so these more toss-up games early in the season are even more critical.
OK! This is kind of exciting to see the Bulls on the court again. Even if there isn’t much new. Comments are open here below this post but during the game we’ll be in the Chat.