By: Robert Weihofen
Earlier this week , the Bulls preseason schedule was released to the public with notable games against the Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Looking forward at these games, there will be plenty of playing time for the young guys to showcase what they can bring to the team. There are a few players with two-way contracts who will look to impress, along with rookie Lauri Markkanen and new PG Kris Dunn. So, let’s take a look at the what to watch for once preseason rolls around.
Two players who will look to impress are Antonio Blakeney and Ryan Arcidiacono. If you are not familiar with how NBA Two-Way Contracts work, that’s okay. To break it down, it is fairly new to the NBA. What this does for a team is create a “flex” spot they can use to bring up and send down a player affiliate teams in the organization over a 45 day period. Their cap hit will fluctuate with with team they are on as well. This creates a period that would be considered a “tryout” phase for the team and player.
Blankeney surprised in the Summer League for the Bulls averaging 16.8 PPG while shooting 43.8% and a solid 64.3% from beyond the arc. Going into camp and the pre-season, Blankeney will have to prove he belongs in the NBA. Not a true PG in terms of a table setter, but undersized for a SG in todays NBA, he will have to find where he can fit with the Bulls. He has six games to prove he can be of value for this team, and if he can stay hot from 3-PT range he may have an argument to stay. For a team that was near the bottom on 3-PT% last season this could be a huge boost during the season.
Arcidiacono will have a lot or prove in camp and pre-season if he looks to stay a Bull. The 2nd two-way contract the Bulls are allowed to have, he averaged 5.8 PPG in Summer League action while adding 3.2 RPG and 2.8 APG. What looks like to be organization depth. Another combo guard, he will have to fight to find playing minutes behind the likes of Kris Dunn, Cameron Payne and the veteran Wade. He will likely get quality minutes early in the Pre-Season to show the team what he has to offer.
Building on the chemistry for the other young players such as Dunn and Markkanen will be key, as well as building off the positives of Summer League. There were obvious growing pains seen, and bringing in experienced players won’t fix all of it, but it can help mend some. They have Six games to help the young players, and look for Wade to use this time to be a teacher as much as a player before the Regular Season is here.
This isn’t a team that is built to wow, but it is one that is built to watch the development of young players now. The full Pre-Season schedule is below, and though the record may not matter for those Six Games, the time is precious to work and develop as a team before the games begin to count.
|Tuesday, Oct. 3||at New Orleans Pelicans||7:00 p.m.||CSN Chicago/WLS-AM 890|
|Wednesday, Oct. 4||at Dallas Mavericks||7:30 p.m.||CSN Chicago/WLS-AM 890|
|Friday, Oct. 6||vs Milwaukee Bucks||7:00 p.m.||CSN Chicago/WLS-AM 890|
|Sunday, Oct. 8||vs New Orleans Pelicans||6:00 p.m.||CSN Chicago/WLS-AM 890|
|Tuesday, Oct. 10||at Cleveland Cavaliers||7:00 p.m.||CSN Chicago/WLS-AM 890|
|Friday, Oct. 13||vs Toronto Raptors||7:00 p.m.||CSN Chicago/WLS-AM 890|