When it comes to the NBA preseason, anyone and everyone is looking to make a strong impression in hopes of earning themselves more minutes, or even just a spot on the roster. The Chicago Bulls are no exception here, as they currently have 21 players on the preseason roster and not enough room to keep them all on board.
We got a glimpse of what this team is capable of during their first preseason game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Despite losing a close 102-105 contest, there were quite a few silver linings for Chicago to take home with them.
The Bulls’ next two games will be against the defending champion Nuggets, one at home and another on the road. These games should be particularly enlightening, coming against such an accomplished and well-coached roster. These three Bulls players should stay on your radar as they look to build off a strong start to a fresh season.
These 3 Bulls players could be poised for big things if they can maintain their positive momentum against Denver.
1. Onuralp Bitim
I’ll admit, when the Bulls first announced the signing of international talent Onuralp Bitim to a two-way deal, I was rather pessimistic regarding the front office’s decision-making. That’s because Bitim filled the team’s final two-way contract slot, thus pushing Summer League star Javon Freeman-Liberty out of the picture.
Of course, it’s still far too early to tell if letting JFL leave in free agency was a good call, but if Bitim can continue playing like he did against Milwaukee, I’m sure fans will get over it eventually. Bitim made an immediate impact in his five minutes on the court, going 2-for-2 from deep. The Bulls are lacking in pure spot-up shooters to space the floor, so Bitim could earn real minutes with the main roster if his sweet shooting stroke proves to be a reliable asset.
2. Quenton Jackson
Speaking of making a big impression in limited minutes, Quenton Jackson got Bulls fans up on their feet in his five minutes of playtime. That’s because he scored 5 quick points, dished out 2 assists, and reeled in a rebound in a last-minute effort to pull the Bulls within striking distance.
Jackson’s highlight of the game was undoubtedly this incredible dunk, which cut the lead down to just two points with 13 seconds remaining. Quenton’s downhill speed is truly impressive, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the shifty guard get more of an opportunity to prove himself in the games to come. If he succeeds in that effort, I wouldn’t write him off as a candidate to steal a two-way spot from Bitim, Adama Sanogo, or Justin Lewis.
3. Coby White
Not to overreact to just one preseason game, but Coby White is totally on track to have a breakout All-Star season, right? Jokes aside, this is the best Coby has ever looked on the court. Billy Donovan claims the starting point guard isn’t quite decided just yet, but if White continues playing like this, he’ll be impossible to deny for much longer.
We’ve been big advocates for Coby over here at Pippen Ain’t Easy, if for no other reason than I believe it’s foolish to not give our top prospects time to fully develop and come into themselves. The Bulls already made that mistake with Lauri Markkanen (and to a lesser degree, Wendell Carter Jr.), so let’s keep our eyes tuned to see just what developments players like Coby and Patrick Williams can continue to make in the early stages of their young careers.