It’s the scorching days of the NBA’s offseason, where a lot of the excitement is centered around the guys playing in the pro-ams, the Drew League, or whatever. Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell’s trade situations added some intrigue to the NBA in August of this year, but those negotiations currently appear to be at an impasse.
A number of Bulls players have been out in California this summer (RIP #InOurBuilding), with DeMar DeRozan starring in the Drew League and Patrick Williams and Dalen Terry also taking part. I don’t want to get into Drew League highlights too much, but go ahead:
Clipped together (most of) the Drew’s Patrick William keys.
The grip feels a bit tighter. I got soaked trying to block some shots. I had some nice dunks towards the end. Didn’t look fantastic the whole game but cool to see it in that setting and trying some new moves pic.twitter.com/CxjdqmR76Y
— Will Gottlieb (@wontgottlieb) August 7, 2022
Williams and Terry have also just taken part in a training session with Paul George and others in Los Angeles.
Justin Lewis could be out for the season
In unfortunate news, rookie Justin Lewis fears he tore his ACL during a workout, according to NBC Sports Chicago’s KC Johnson. The Bulls were praised for picking Lewis as an undrafted free agent straight out of the draft and agreeing to a two-way contract, and he showed some flashes at the Summer League. It’s just a huge disappointment and a bad omen for the upcoming season.
Speaking of 2022-23…
Early projections put Bulls on playing squad
Last year, the Bulls held the No. 1 seed in the East for nearly three-quarters of last season, only to stumble to 46 wins and the No. 6 seed, barely staying out of the tournament. qualifying. After a mediocre-at-best offseason in which they did the bare minimum (David Aldridge of The Athletic ranked their offseason 15th, which is honestly pretty perfect), early projections point to the Bulls as a play team for this season. coming. .
ESPN’s NBA summer predictions show the Bulls are 44-38 and finish as the No. 8 seed in the East. DraftKings and PointsBet win totals currently have them at 43.5, which is in gambling territory, although those numbers have increased since opening.
There’s certainly a path for the Bulls to easily beat those projections (better health, Patrick Williams leaps), and we still have one or more major Brooklyn trades to come, but there’s one major thing hanging over the club. team right now….
What’s up with Lonzo Ball?
Arturas Karnisovas’ Lonzo Ball update during Summer League was less than encouraging, especially when combined with KC’s reports of the discomfort still occurring when he tried to speed things up.
Since then, Billy Donovan has attempted to deliver a positive update at the end of July, tell Andy Katz during an event, Ball “seems to continue to move in a very, very positive direction,” but if you analyze those words, it says nothing about how well Ball has recovered. This week, ESPN’s Jamal Collier said on NBA Today that a source in Ball’s camp expressed “some confidence he’ll be ready to go for the start of the season,” but he assumes the Bulls will slow things down.
Then the latest from KC Johnson (who suffered the Lewis injury) said: “Ball continues to improve, although his readiness for the start of training camp is unknown.”
Given the length of Ball’s absence and all the setbacks, I’m not encouraged by any of this at all and won’t be until we get a concrete update from the Bulls on his ability to complete basketball activities. And even then, there will be concerns about how he’s held up over the season given his injury history.
The ball is so important to this Bulls roster, and his health could change the course of this season.