Week In Review with Ryan: The Good, Bad and Ugly from Opening Week for Chicago Bulls
With two games in the books for the Chicago Bulls, let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from the first week of the new season.
Finally, it’s here. No, I’m not talking about Halloween. The NBA and the Chicago Bulls are back, baby. And, what a season its going to be.
Between locker room turmoil and pressure on Fred Hoiberg‘s job, I think it’s safe to say there are going to be plenty of storylines revolving around the Bulls this year.
Nevertheless, the Bulls seemed to debunk most of this in their season-opening game against the Boston Celtics, winning 105-99. This was then replicated again when they demolished a formidable Indiana Pacers side on Saturday, 118-101.
The “Three Alphas” played well, Jerian Grant didn’t play at all, and Hoiberg’s job looks safe for at least the first week. Spencer Dinwiddie was cut and then sent to the D-League, R.J. Hunter was signed, Cristiano Felicio and Taj Gibson were pleasantly surprising, and Nikola Mirotic was Nikola Mirotic.
So, with the undefeated Bulls winning their first two games of the new season, let’s look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from the first week of the season.
The Good: Three Alphas
At a combined salary of over $53 million this season, you’d hope your three best players or “alphas” would click. And, boy did they ever.
Not only did Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo silence all the talk about how they would play together emphatically by starring against two arguable contenders in the East, but they also showed real promise for this Bulls team on being a top team in the Eastern Conference this season.
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While I will concede there’s still 80 more games left, these first two to start the season were never going to be easy, and with a former contending team, fans that were looking for hope with these Bulls big three certainly got it in the first two games.
Butler and Wade scored a combined 76 points over the first two games with Rondo creating 22 assists in just 58 minutes on the court.
However, the most encouraging sign of all was when Rondo came to the defense of teammate Jimmy Butler when he was involved in a scuffle with former college teammate Jae Crowder.
Not only does this show the team is unified, but so far, Rondo seems to be getting on with everyone pretty well. (With that being said, the Bulls haven’t lost yet either.)
Hopefully, the Bulls big three can continue their red-hot form into Monday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
The Bad: Michael Carter-Williams
As much as it pains me to say it, Michael-Carter Williams just didn’t play that well in his first two games. By no means was he worse than Tony Snell, but Carter-Williams didn’t really have a huge impact.
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Perhaps this is just his role and the Bulls will stick to Doug McDermott as their sixth man, but hopes were fairly high for the former rookie of the year winner, and he quite simply didn’t live up to it in the first week.
Again, this is a small sample size, but unless Carter-Williams improves from his first two games, he simply wont see a bigger role then what he’s getting at the moment.
If you ignore his combined 4-for-14 shooting performance in the first two games, MCW did show some good defense, as well as a couple moments in the Celtics game which got the United Center to its feet.
While we shouldn’t be too quick to judge Carter-Williams after coming in late via trade, if his play continues to be like this halfway through the year, then the Bulls will have a problem they will need to address.
Don’t be surprised if Jerian Grant starts to see some game time if Carter-Williams’ poor play continues.
The Ugly: Indiana’s defense
There were a couple of contenders for the inaugural ‘Ugly’ award — Dwyane Wade’s fine, Nikola Mirotic’s performance against the Celtics — yet this week’s dishonor goes to the Indiana Pacers and their god-awful defense on Saturday night.
The Bulls not only scored 54 of their 118 points in the paint against Indiana, they were able to get 30 fast-break points compared to the Pacers’ 14 fast-break points. Anything the Bulls wanted on offense, they go, but they were also able to play their garbage minutes unit majority of the entire fourth quarter.
The game was basically over at halftime; something Bulls fans haven’t been accustomed to in a long time. With the difference in score being in double digits for majority of the game, it looks like the Pacers defense didn’t learn their lesson after an embarrassing loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
What were your good, bad and ugly moments of the opening week for the Bulls? Make sure you comment it in the section below and tune in next Sunday for next week’s “Week In Review”.
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