An impressive start to the preseason slate for the Chicago Bulls saw second-year head coach Billy Donovan and his squad dominate the divisional foe Cleveland Cavaliers at home at the United Center on Oct. 5. The Bulls convincingly beat the Cavs this week to start off the preseason slate on the right foot, by the final score of 131-95.
Despite a slew of injuries for the Bulls heading into the preseason opener, the team still rallied for what amounted to a very entertaining game in this 36-point victory. While it might not mean much as to how the Bulls fair during the regular season, it was a nice way to build some momentum out of the gates this preseason.
It’s also fun to get an entertaining product out on the court when this fan base hasn’t witnessed game action in nearly six months.
One of the driving forces for the Bulls to get this win over the Cavs to open up the preseason slate was an effective set of lineup adjustments by Donovan and his staff. The Bulls had five notable players out with injury in this game. That included the likes of rookie big man Marko Simonovic, forward Patrick Williams, and small forward Derrick Jones Jr., among others.
Given all of the absences of injured players in this game, Donovan really had to make some effective adjustments to his second unit and in one spot in the starting unit. That’s where the play of the former Boston Celtics defensive standout shooting guard Javonte Green is relevant.
Green got the surprise start for the Bulls alongside point guard Lonzo Ball, shooting guard Zach LaVine, forward DeMar DeRozan, and center Nikola Vucevic. Since Williams was out with injury in this game, Green was counted on as the glue for this starting unit along with Lonzo.
Javonte Green comes out in force for the Chicago Bulls as he’s called upon to start in the win over the Cavaliers
And boy did he ever excel in that role.
In this win over the Cavs, Green registered 13 points, eight rebounds, two steals, and a game-high four blocks. And he shot an efficient 6-of-9 from the field, 1-of-1 from beyond the arc, and he didn’t have any attempts from the free-throw line.
The defensive effort from Green was outstanding in this game. Four blocks while playing the bulk of his minutes guarding bigger forwards is very impressive. Green played the bulk of his minutes at the three and the four, at least in terms of his defensive matchups.
But what stuck out about Green in this game that was not really part of his skill set in the past was this level of switchability and offensive ability. Green was extremely efficient shooting from the field. And he was able to be a disruptor and rebound well from a number of different positions on the floor.
We can’t put too much stock into one preseason performance out of Green. But it is still nice to see what he can do in a bigger role. Green was never really given the chance to shine in a starting or second unit role. He at least deserves to get a look in a second unit role situationally this season. Especially when injuries/absences start to pile up, having Green in the mix will be very valuable.
Green can often be switched between the two, three, and four (defensively at least), while maintaining a respectable degree of efficiency coming off the bench. But in this game he was effective as a two-way starter.
He is proving that he could compete for minutes with the likes of shooting guard/small forward Troy Brown Jr. and Coby (once he returns from injury) when a defensive stopper that can be an effective shooter and rebounder is needed. Re-signing Green to the two-year minimum contract that the front office brought him back on over the summer looks like a wise move.
Green and the Bulls now carry a record of 1-0 into their next meeting of the preseason slate, which comes against the New Orleans Pelicans at home on Oct. 8. It will be interesting to see if Donovan keeps Green in the starting unit for that matchup against the Pelicans.