It came and went in the blink of an eye, but the Chicago Bulls 2023 preseason and training camp is officially in the books. They’ve cut the roster down to 18 players and look prepped and ready to enter the 2023-24 regular season. But did the preseason leave us fans feeling hopeful for another chance at a playoff run, or dreading another disappointing campaign?
The Bulls record may not show it, but I think there’s a lot to be pleased about how this team fared in the preseason. Winning just once in their five-game slate, I’m more interested in how a few players stood out as individuals, rather than if the Bulls were emerging with victories in these exhibition contests.
Not everyone submitted the strongest of performances, I’ll admit, so I’ll be fair in my assessments here. Let’s take a look at five Bulls players who I believe stand to benefit (or suffer) from how this year’s preseason played out.
With a lot on the line this preseason, these five Bulls made strong impressions in the preseason — for better or worse.
Winner: Nikola Vucevic
When Nikola Vucevic decided to re-up with the Bulls on a new three-year $60 million contract extension, it was reported that discussions with Billy Donovan to get the big man involved more in the post played a big role in negotiations. We saw that come into play in the preseason, as Vooch averaged 13.8 points and 7 rebounds, with only 20.4% of his shot attempts coming from beyond the arc — down from 30% last season.
Much of the concern from fans surrounding a Vucevic contract had to do with his age, as the soon-to-be 33-year-old veteran could be a depreciating asset. However, after he enjoyed a much-improved season with the Bulls last year, and dominated the competition in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here.
Vooch has a game that doesn’t rely too heavily on his athleticism and should age gracefully, barring any injuries. If this preseason was a sign of things to come, I’m cautiously optimistic that Vucevic may prove to have been a sneakily strong (re-)signing.