Bulls vs. Timberwolves preview: DeRozan, Caruso's final Bulls game?
last one before the trade deadline
Any analysis of “what the Bulls might be thinking” is not productive, but an exercise in wishcasting. I pretty much did that earlier this week when considering their consideration of Thursday’s trade deadline.
I’m dreading the quotes almost as much as the inactivity. We’ve seen numerous times over the past few years where AK cannot accurately assess his own team, attempting to spin but coming across as delusional. It’s where I can make my own assessments of the team not in an objective context but through the prism of mumbled platitudes.
reminder to subscribe for the trade deadline posts this week! Even if Bulls are inactive, we will be active!
So when I find myself saying “well, they are over .500 without LaVine” and “Coby White looks like a keeper at least”, that is doing what AK does all the time which is ignoring context. If looking more broadly, the Bulls are 10-1 against teams below them in the standings and 13-26 against the rest. There’s been those and other wins where opponents were on short rest, or missing key players, and I think they’ve beaten the Hornets 8 times this season.
But while AK can equivocate, he cannot escape the hard deadline of Thursday for making trades. This is the final game before that deadline (they play the night of), against an extremely good team in the Minnesota Timberwolves.
You’d hope they will have chosen their direction already, but they’ve admitted in the past that they will cherry-pick season segments and certain opponents (remember “we played well against good teams” nonsense from last summer?). They don’t even have to win! Just be a competitive, tough out. The Timberwolves have a relatively dreadful time in fourth quarters, so expect another fake rally at some point tonight. I’d bet they thought their last game, almost but not quite able to erase a 30 point deficit at home, as a positive. Or if they don’t even think it, they’ll shamelessly project it.
Here’s a roster snapshot of those Timberwolves, who are at the top of the Western Conference.
Now that’s good roster construction, though they were completely maligned last season, which was a disappointment after making that huge Rudy Gobert acquisition.
It was comparable to AK’s decision to trade for Nikola Vucevic, but key differences:
Timberwolves were better overall, and had better top-end players
Gobert is miles better than Vuc (friggin’ Vuc…)
Big market Minneapolis will pay the luxury tax
Injury Report: TWolves are squeaky clean, which is huge for them as they really miss Mike Conley when the veteran is out.
For the Bulls, Dalen Terry should return after missing a couple with that bad-looking ankle sprain. Coby White, Alex Caruso, and Torrey Craig are all listed but due to manageable injury and likely to play.
Schedule factor: Bulls have an extra day of rest and they’re hosting, the Timberwolves played at home 2 nights ago.
Oddsmakers analysis: Bulls are slighter underdogs than I expected, +180 to win, Implied final score: CHI 105, MIN 111
Game Time: 7pm central. Come on back for LIVE OPEN THREAD around then.