4 surprising things we learned from Chicago Bulls Media Day

DeMar DeRozan, Billy Donovan, Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls, Media Day (Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports)
DeMar DeRozan, Billy Donovan, Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls, Media Day (Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports) /

After a scorching start to the 2021-22 season that ultimately fizzled out in an embarrassing question, the Chicago Bulls were always going to have to face the criticism and questions that their 8-18 record to end the season would spawn. Surprisingly, the Bulls were prepared to face the fire and answered the burning questions we all had entering Media Day.

While the mood was rather somber in Phoenix and Boston, the team over in Chicago appeared to be having a blast. This team has the potential to go far, let’s just hope an offseason spent building up the team’s chemistry was enough to get them over the hump.

The Chicago Bulls had a lot of questions on the table entering this year’s Media Day and hopefully did their best to address them all.

1. Caruso covets closing role, not starting PG position

“I’ve always been team first, you know, trying to win games. If that’s me starting basketball games, that’s what we’ll do. If that’s me coming off the bench, that’s fine too,” says Alex Caruso, “I’d rather finish games than start games.”

Caruso’s willingness to buy into the bigger picture and do whatever it takes to win will be absolutely critical for the Bulls at this junction. Everyone knows Lonzo Ball will anchor the point guard slot down the road, but no one can know just when Ball will be ready to return. Even if Ayo Dosunmu or Goran Dragic end up receiving the starting now, I have no doubt Caruso will still be logging heavy minutes and closing out games when he’s needed.

2. Vucevic knows he needs to be better

As one of Nikola Vucevic’s harshest critics last season, his press conference at this year’s Media Day was music to my ears. Vucevic appeared to understand why many would be frustrated with his dip in performance, accepting criticism and citing how his passiveness, shooting, and fit as the third star are all things he’s working to improve on. He even opted to sit out of this year’s EuroBasket in order to get his game right, proving his mind is in the right place and his intentions are to help the Bulls win as many games as possible.

3. The reality of a tougher Eastern Conference has set in

Boston, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Miami still anchor the top four spots in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta, Cleveland, and New York all went out and made big acquisitions in Dejounte Murray, Donovan Mitchell, and Jalen Brunson in hopes of leaping up the totem pole. Toronto, Brooklyn, and Washington remain dangerous and will make a convincing playoff push.

This hasn’t been lost on Bulls’ management, as they spoke openly on it during their presser. Head coach Billy Donovan seemed acutely aware of this fact, stating, “This year is going to be way harder than last year, just cause the East is better and we got a lot more challenges in front of us. We got to put the work in.” Donovan is absolutely correct here, as Chicago will have to wade treacherous waters this season to prove they’re still a top team in the East.

4. Bulls need production from Williams, not potential

Entering his third season in the NBA, I believe everyone is now on the same page that Patrick Williams has to begin looking like the franchise building block this franchise has been counting on him to become.

Not even Williams is ignorant of this fact, as he addressed the fanbases concerns during his presser. “I for sure think that I will make a jump this season,” Williams said confidently. He carried on to express how important it is for the Bulls to continue improving as a unit, however, and that no one player is going to be Chicago’s savior this season. It’s easy to see how much DeRozan’s maturity and mentality have rubbed off on Pat already, let’s just hope he’s caught onto a bit of DeMar’s talent as well.

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