Chicago Bulls: Garrett Temple should be ready to go for season opener

Garrett Temple Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Garrett Temple Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bulls are going to reportedly get back a key piece to their bench in the backcourt rotation ahead of the season opener against the Hawks.

On Dec. 23, the Chicago Bulls and newly hired head coach Billy Donovan are set to open up their 2020-21 regular season schedule at home at the United Center against the Atlanta Hawks. The Bulls don’t look like they will be at full strength up and down the rotation for the regular season tip off, though.

For the entirety of the preseason, the Bulls were missing their recently signed veteran 34-year-old former Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Garrett Temple. Having missed the preseason since he was on the COVID-19 list for the Bulls, and thus had to quarantine, Temple really just got in the mix to practice ad the Advocate Center for the first time this week.

Temple was the Bulls major free agent signing for this cycle, that just happened a few weeks back. Newly hired executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas signed Temple to a one-year contract worth $5 million over the offseason.

However, Temple sounds like he will be ready to go for Donovan and the Bulls in their Dec. 23 regular season opener at home against the Hawks. He reportedly “plans to be available for opener as long as no setbacks” take place for him in the next couple of days. Temple also “said he watched film during quarantine to stay up to speed with Donovan’s system and terminology”.

Getting Temple back will be good for the Bulls since they could be without the veteran forward Thaddeus Young for the opener. He is currently dealing with a leg injury and there is reportedly “no timetable” for his return.

The other piece of good injury news for the Bulls was that the 27-year-old shooting guard Denzel Valentine was “full go at practice” alongside Temple. Valentine and Temple will both bring depth at the two and the three for Donovan in his rotation early this season.

Moreover, during the shortened 2019-20 regular season, Temple played in 62 games for the Nets (35 of which he started in). And he averaged 10.3 points per game, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks. Temple shot 37.8 percent from the field, 32.9 percent from beyond the arc, and 80.5 percent from the free-throw line.

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The Bulls finished up their four-game preseason slate with a record of 3-1, with their last game resulting in a second straight win on the road over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Dec. 18. This preseason finished up for the Bulls with two wins over the Thunder, and one at home over the Houston Rockets from back on Dec. 13.