Bulls vs. Raptors Play-In Preview: Which team reigns supreme at the wing?
As great as DeMar DeRozan has been for the Bulls, there’s simply no denying the fact Toronto has the edge here in star power. Pascal Siakam can go shot-for-shot with DeRozan on any given day, and Scottie Barnes is far better than any other player the Bulls have at the forward slots.
Star Power: Raptors
Rebounding has been one of the Bulls’ greatest weaknesses for some time now, so this once again another edge for the Raptors here. Both DeRozan and Patrick Williams have been relatively weak on the boards for the Bulls this season. Up against a team that’s great at attacking the basket and cleaning the glass — Toronto ranks second in the NBA and first among non-lottery teams in second-chance points — the Bulls will be in for a long night if they don’t box out effectively.
Chicago finally manages to grab hold of an advantage here with their superior scoring. Although Barnes outpaces Williams in raw scoring output, Pat has been a far more efficient player and won’t hurt the team with poor offensive possessions. That makes him a perfect complement to DeRozan, who will no doubt be looking to prove a point to the team that traded him away. Siakam and Barnes are a formidable pairing, but I think the Bulls get a slight edge here as they’re less likely to make costly mistakes.
And anything the Bulls gain on the offensive side of things, they’ll likely give back on defense. Looking at the four main players at forward on each team, only DeRozan and Chris Boucher are liabilities on defense. It should go without saying, but DeRozan will obviously log far more minutes than Boucher and will be a much easier weakness to exploit. The Bulls will need to rely on their perimeter defense to secure a win, because the Raptors definitely have them outclassed at the wing.
After adding Will Barton (-2.5 net rating), the Raptors have put together a fairly solid group of forwards off the bench with Boucher (-0.1) and Thaddeus Young (0.1) also logging solid minutes. However, now that Javonte Green (1.4) has returned from injury and Derrick Jones Jr. is playing some of the most impactful basketball of his career, the Bulls will have slightly more effective options at their disposal off the bench.
Although Chicago’s forward rotation is nothing to scoff at, Toronto hosts one of the league’s best. The Bulls will need to overcome this discrepancy in other areas of the game if they want to put the Raptors away for good.