Chicago Bulls got by the Detroit Pistons despite some suspect numbers

The Chicago Bulls will try to go 2-0 for the first time since 2017 when they face the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday. Their 94-88 victory over the Detroit Pistons gave them their first 1-0 start since 2017. That is also the last time they were over .500 in the regular season. It has been a lot of bad in between.

Zach LaVine had a great game while Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan found their footing at the right time after slower starts.

Let’s be clear, This group should absolutely make the postseason in a top-heavy East.

However, there were also several areas of concern that need to be addressed if this team is going to be more than fodder for a higher seed in the playoffs. Something we saw the last time they made the playoffs way back in, you guessed it, 2017.

The Chicago Bulls got the win despite being outscored in the paint and not capitalizing on turnovers

One thing most agreed upon coming into the season was that the Bulls lacked size. Aside from Nikola Vucevic, only backup center Tony Bradley, and rookie big man Marko Simonovic stand above 6-foot-8. Facing a Detroit team with only Kelly Olynyk and rookie Luka Garza (who did not play) taller than 6-foot-9, that wasn’t an issue as the Bulls had 48-47 edge on the glass.

But they did lose the battle in the paint, getting outscored 52-46 inside. Last season, the Bulls had the edge, narrowly outscoring opponents 49.4 to 48.9 in the interior.

Again, not a big enough problem against the Pistons. But several teams considered near-locks for the postseason boast some sort of dominant inside presence. Vucevic allowed his matchups to knock down 50 percent of their shots.

That means the Bulls are putting a lot of faith in Bradley’s ability to plug this hole.

Chicago was also plus-one in the turnover battle. Yet they were outscored in points off of turnovers by Detroit 22-15.

This plays into our final worrisome number. The Bulls bench was outscored 32-10. To be fair, Detroit’s bench led the league in points per game last season. The bigger worry is the lack of dependable options for the Bulls outside of Coby White who, in all honesty, hasn’t exactly been consistent himself.

We probably shouldn’t expect Alex Caruso and the rest of the reserves to shoot 25 percent from the floor. But he comes in with the best track record (outside of White) and his career average is just 5.9 points per game.

The Bulls shouldn’t have to rely on a second-round rookie in Ayo Dosunmu to get them over the scoring hump late in a game.

White isn’t expected back until around mid-November after shoulder surgery in the offseason.

With Patrick Williams still showing hesitancy offensively and Lonzo Ball being in a similar vein, albeit with more of a willingness to score, the Bulls didn’t come away from the big opening night victory without a plethora of questions.

They might be able to skate by in their next two games — against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday before a quick rematch with Detroit — but things get tougher after that. Chicago heads North to take on the Toronto Raptors and then won’t face a team that failed to make the playoffs last season until the Indiana Pacers on Nov 22.