Recently, all 30 NBA teams participated in NBA Media Day. This is a day to celebrate the beginning of the new season, giving media and fans an insight into all of the NBA teams. It also gives players and coaches a chance to address the media. For Bulls fans, this year’s media day should have them feeling hopeful. The young Bulls outfit is looking healthy, excited to play, and are showing signs of team chemistry which this team has lacked in previous seasons. This may end up paying big dividends for fans who select Bulls players to their team in Daily Fantasy. If you want to learn more about Draft Kings, then following the Bulls and other NBA teams is a good place to start. Here are five takeaways from the Chicago Bulls Media Day.
1. Lauri’s Been Lifting
Lauri Markkanen was possibly the Bulls best player last season and comes into this season with high expectations to be a core piece of the young squad. He is also coming into the season with an extra 17 pounds of muscle. Visibly larger, Markkanen said he now weighs 240 pounds, whereas last season he weighed 223. He credited this to increased time in the weight room. When asked about how it will impact his game, Lauri spoke about how his size will help him in the post. He will be able to play better down low, as well as when driving. It will also allow him to be more consistent defensively and to play more minutes at the five-spot.
2. Playoffs In Mind
Possibly the most commonly asked question of the Chicago Bulls Media Day was “is the team trying to make the playoffs.” While maybe an obvious answer, most who were asked that question did their best to be conservative. Improving, winning games, and living up to the team’s potential were common themes from people such as John Paxson, Fred Hoiberg, Kris Dunn, and Zach LaVine. Jabari Parker stated, “Of course everyone wants to make the playoffs, we’re just going to take it day by day.” However, Bulls rookie Wendell Carter Jr. took a different approach, saying, “We’re going to be in the playoffs this season. It’s just that simple.” It is clear to see that while they are still developing, this young team has success firmly in their sights.
3. No Certain Starters
Fred Hoiberg made it clear during the Chicago Bulls Media Day that no starting spots were certain. As he put it a number of times, “training camp will be an open competition.” However, this statement relates to one position in particular. It is almost certain that the Bulls will choose to start Dunn, Lavine, Parker, and Markkanen. The only real uncertainty is at the center spot, with Rookie Wendell Carter Jr. and veteran Robin Lopez fighting for the spot. When asked about this, Hoiberg spoke about Wendell showing true potential, but still only being 19 years old. In comparison, Lopez is an eleven-year vet, who has “given us some really good moments.” Wendell Carter Jr said that while it was a goal of his to get the start, he wasn’t going to let it break him, as his goal above all was to win games
4. Bulls Finally Healthy
For the first time in what seems like an eternity, the Chicago Bulls have an almost completely healthy squad. This was mentioned quite a bit at the Bulls Media Day, with the sentiment being that finally having a healthy team will pay dividends for their overall performance. Hoiberg and Paxon spoke about how having the team healthy will allow the team to develop together and the benefits that come from this. Lavine commented on how between injuries to himself, Kris Dunn, and Lauri Markkanen, the team was rarely able to utilize them all together. Once playing together and healthily, that could be a dangerous mix for defenses. Jabari Parker also spoke about coming off an injury and how that factored into his approach. Currently, the only injured Chicago Bull is Omer Asik, who is out with inflammatory arthritis.
5. Defensive Significance
One of the biggest challenges this Bulls team will face is playing consistently on the defensive end. A number of questions were asked today about Chicago’s possible defensive shortcomings, however, all players seemed up to the task. Lavine spoke about how he feels, saying that he is a good on-ball defender, although he acknowledged that he does need to improve on defending the weak side. Kris Dunn also spoke about the importance of defense, and about his role in anchoring it. “I feel like I am the best defender we have,“ said Dunn, before conceding that “Some people might say, Wendell.” Dunn knows that he has to be a leader on defense, as well as a more vocal all-around player. While this might not be the most defensively minded team, they are all able to acknowledge that it is crucial in overall success.
The 2017-18 Chicago Bulls will not be competing for a championship. However, they will surprise many people with their performance. Through the development of this young team, they could be up there with the best in no time. The Chicago Bulls Media Day showed a Bulls team that’s electric, excited, and ready to compete. The Bulls will soon compete in their first pre-season clash with the New Orleans Pelicans. Read more about their upcoming season here.