Bulls Preseason: Game 1 Recap and Game 2 Preview

Preseason basketball is underway. The Chicago Bulls dropped their first preseason game to the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night. A lackluster defensive effort in the 1st half really hurt the Bulls, and negated the spirited 2nd half effort of rookie Dalen Terry, who put the team on his back and nearly willed the Bulls to a win.

Some takeaways from game 1: The starting point guard position seems to be Ayo Dosunmu’s to lose, but a “meh” game 1 from him didn’t instill much confidence that Coach Billy Donovan won’t try Alex Caruso or Goran Dragic at that spot.

Patrick Williams played with more aggression and energy, though his stat line didn’t necessarily reflect his change in attitude. He was quicker with his shot and decision making, and had a handful of plays that looked like he had improved over the offseason. I’m not sure if we’ll see the giant leap in his game that some fans are anticipating, but he looked better.

Dalen Terry had a nice debut in the 2nd half of the Bulls preseason game. He played like it was game 7 of the NBA Finals, and was visibly upset when the Bulls failed to complete the comeback. He has a loooooong way to go when it comes to his basketball play, but if he can translate his passion into skill, then the sky is the limit for this young man. I just hope his constant energy doesn’t wear thin on his teammates.

Marko Simonovic did not play in the game. I think this will be the last time I mention him until he does play.

The standout Bulls player from preseason game 1 was definitely Nikola Vucevic. He was a force on both ends of the court, playing a much improved brand of pick and roll defense, and getting back to his bread and butter offense in the post. If this is the Vucevic we get for the rest of the 2022-’23 season, he’ll silence a lot of his critics.

The Bulls take on the Denver Nuggets tonight at the United Center in Chicago. I believe Nikola Jokic is sitting this game out, which should make life easier for the Bulls (not that it really matters). Things I’d like to see in tonight’s game:

  • Dalen Terry minutes with some of the starters. His effort, energy, and playmaking would be great to see alongside Zach LaVine and Vucevic.
  • Speaking of Vooch, I’d like to see continued excellence from Vucevic. He had 4 blocks and 3 steals in just over a half of basketball, he looked quicker and more energetic than I remember him being. I get the feeling he may have lost a little weight, but he looked great.
  • I need more of everything from Ayo. I didn’t see much of a change in play from him over what he was doing at the end of last season. I’m hoping for a big jump from him this season. He needs to be better.
  • And finally, I would like to see some positive plays from Goran Dragic. He looked slow and unsure of himself in his first game as a Bull. I know he was brought in for his veteran leadership and ability to step up in big games, but call me a skeptic, I don’t know if he has anything left in the tank, and his game 1 performance did not alleviate my fears.

The Bulls, as a team, need to get off to a better start tonight. Game 1 felt too familiar, like this was the same team that finished out the end of the 2021-’22 season. I mean, I guess that’s not that weird, because for the most part it is the same team. I was expecting to see improvement in the defense, and while Vucevic had a monster game, the rest of the starters were pretty ho-hum on that end of the floor. My hope is that it’s just preseason malaise, and that the defense will tighten up once the regular season starts. We’ll see.

I doubt any of the Bulls problems on defense will be worked out in Game 2 of the Bulls preseason, but you never know. Until they are, thanks for reading and GO BULLS!