The NBA season is officially back!
After months of dissecting new acquisitions, tantalizing over workout tape and bawling over the loss of Khris Middleton, the Bucks will finally be playing in a "real" basketball game Monday night. After Sunday's exhilarating open scrimmage, this should be a slightly more organized affair as the Bucks head south of the border to take on the new look Chicago Bulls.
With six new players on the roster, Milwaukee spent the summer looking for players to provide three-point shooting on a team that ranked last in attempts in 2015-16. Matthew Dellavedova, Mirza Teletovic, Jason Terry and Malcolm Brogdon all slot as players who could provide more outside shooting, and this will be fans' first chance to see whether those additions bear fruit. Recently acquired Michael Beasley should also see time after a spirited effort in the scrimmage, but there's no official word yet on whether Thon Maker will be active after injuring his wrist last week in practice. For what it's worth, he warmed up yesterday but didn't participate in the scrimmage.
Nice to see Thon Maker (right wrist) out on the court in warmups going through drills. Only seemed to be dunking with left though.— FrankMadden (@brewhoop) October 2, 2016
But really, this season hinges on the successes of the Bucks' studs, Jabari and Giannis. Giannis enters this season as the full-time point guard for the first time in his career, and Jabari looks to be a more integral part of the offense following the loss of Khris Middleton. Bask in whatever minutes they might get tonight. As this is still preseason, expect plenty of minutes for the likes of Brogdon and Vaughn with a smattering of bit minutes for some of the unguaranteed roster flotsam like Orlando Johnson or Jaleel Roberts.
Bucks players have been discussing some form of demonstration before games. Jason Kidd has talked about issued with players, supports them— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) October 3, 2016
What a time to be alive for Bulls fans. After carefully removing their finger from the reset button earlier this year, they enter into this season doubling down on ball-dominant guards in Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler-- all of whom operate primarily inside the arc. Wade's arrival may have been the second most shocking team change of the summer, and was made possible by the Bulls finally offloading Derrick Rose's albatross contract to the New York Knicks for Robin Lopez and Jerian Grant.
Fred Hoiberg's first year was a relative disaster, failing to capture any of the offensive magic he promised with his pace and space style. With a dearth of three-point shooters, it remains to be seen whether they'll improve this year. Chicago also lost Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol, opening up more frontcourt minutes for Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis.
Look for Portis and first-round pick Denzel Valentine to get plenty of run once the big names start getting rested. Oh, and don't forget about the nation's new Brawny lumberjack mascot and March Madness darling, Thomas Walkup.
UPDATE: Don't expect to see much of the Bulls' starters tonight...
On the Bulls: Blog a Bull
|2016/17 NBA Preseason|
|October 3, 2016|
|United Center | Chicago, IL|
|NBA TV | 620 WTMJ|
|Malcolm Brogdon||PG||Rajon Rondo|
|Rashad Vaughn||SG||Dwyane Wade|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo||SF||Jimmy Butler|
|Jabari Parker||PF||Taj Gibson|
|Miles Plumlee||C||Robin Lopez|
|2015/16 Advanced Stats|
|94.2 (23rd)||Pace||95.7 (16th)|
|105.1 (26th)||ORtg||105.9 (21st)|
|109.7 (24th)||DRtg||107.3 (15th)|