The Chicago Bulls open their 2022-23 season on October 19 against the Heat in Miami and face the Cleveland Cavaliers on October 22 in the opening game at home at the United Center.
Whether point guard Lonzo Ball will be ready to play remains to be determined.
The last we heard from Artūras Karnišovas, the Bulls’ executive vice president of basketball operations, Ball’s rehabilitation from January surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the left knee It didn’t go as well as expected.
“It’s getting better, probably not as fast as we’d like, but it’s getting better.” Karnisovas said last month during an NBA TV interview at a Summer League game in Las Vegas. “Hopefully he’s ready for training camp, (but) those are just our hopes.”
The Bulls will need a healthy ball if they hope to compete in the Eastern Conference again. but he has yet to play a full season in his five in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans and Bulls.
A second half fades and loss in the first round of the playoffs in five games against the Milwaukee Bucks left the Bulls with a lot of question marks heading into the offseason. But they only made minor additions: Andre Drummond Y goran Dragic – apart from re-sign Zach LaVine to a five-year, $215.2 million extensionin the hope that a healthier group can avoid the same end.
With LaVine and DeMar DeRozan back and Patrick Williams set to play a full season, the Bulls need to get further into the playoffs to show they’re making progress. It is no longer a team that can sneak up on the league.
Here are 10 games to watch.
The first home game will mark the return of LaVine, DeRozan and Co. to the United Center and the home debut of Dalen Terry. Terry, the 18th pick in the draft, just turned 20 and is expected to become a valuable rotation piece for coach Billy Donovan. Terry averaged just 6.2 shots per game as a sophomore at Arizona, but his defense and athleticism should fit well in Donovan’s system. Terry will wear number 25, a nod to Simeon’s Steve Kerr and former Chicago high school legend Ben Wilson.
Will Kevin Durant still be with the Nets? If not, this could just be another game on the schedule. Stay tuned.
This will be the first meeting between the teams since the first-round playoff series in April. The early exit showed how far the Bulls were from being a championship contender. They were outscored by 30, 24 and 16 points, respectively, in the last three games and shot 28.3% from 3-point range in the series. Maybe Bulls fans can drive to Milwaukee and recruit Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who recently said, “Everyone would love to play for Chicago. Later, you never know. Maybe he’ll play for Chicago. But right now I’m committed to Milwaukee.”
The good news is that the Bulls avoided playing on Christmas Day. Considering how they fared under the glare of the national spotlights last season, they probably didn’t deserve it, even though they are scheduled to play 14 nationally televised games, including seven on ESPN and three on TNT. The bad news is that the NBA doesn’t consider the Bulls viable enough to deserve a game on Christmas, the biggest day of the regular season. A pre-holiday game at Madison Square Garden will have to do.
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Booing Grayson Allen is strictly optional and probably inadvisable. The Bucks guard who sent Alex Caruso to the sidelines with a broken left wrist in January he shot 58% (14 of 24) from 3-point range against the Bulls in the playoffs after being booed every time he touched the ball at the United Center. In the Bucks’ seven-game loss to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Allen came back down to earth, shooting 20.8% from beyond the arc.
DeRozan spent last New Year’s Eve in Indianapolis throwing a last second shot, hitting the buzzer who beat the Indiana Pacers. Can lightning strike again before the clock strikes midnight?
A 42-point loss to the Warriors on Jan. 14 at UC was perhaps the lowest point of the Bulls season. LaVine left the game after 3 1/2 minutes with a left knee injury that started the team’s slide in the second half. LaVine would undergo an arthroscopy surgery after the season. The Bulls also lost their first meeting with the eventual NBA champions by 26 points on Nov. 12 in San Francisco. This Sunday afternoon game will be a test to see if the Bulls are in the same area code as the champions.
It’s a throwback to the future for the Bulls, who memorably played an exhibition series in Paris in 1997 when Michael Jordan ruled the league. Jordan led the Bulls to a 104-78 win over European champion Olympiakos Piraeus in the McDonald’s Championship and pulled off some acrobatic feats, including some between-the-legs passes. “I don’t do it often in the States, but it seemed appropriate to do it and I did it,” Jordan said. “That was a little bit of mustard on top of the hot dog.” Will LaVine bring mustard to Paris in 2023?
After the Dallas Mavericks stunned them in seven games to watch a 64-win regular season unravel, the Suns should be motivated to make amends. They beat the Bulls by just three points last year at the United Center, but the score was misleading. The Bulls trailed by 15 with 3 ½ minutes to go.
Whenever LeBron James comes to Chicago, it’s always one of the biggest games on the schedule, whether the Lakers are underperforming or not. And it sure looks like they will underperform again. The Bulls swept the Lakers in both of their meetings last season, with James out of the Los Angeles game with an injury. James reportedly agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million extension on Wednesday.
By the end of the regular season, we’ll know if the plan to make incremental roster changes was the right call, and if the Bulls stayed healthy enough and played well enough to make a realistic run for the title. the NBA.