The Chicago Bulls open their NBA season tonight in Philadelphia against the 76ers.
The Bulls will start Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Justin Holiday, Bobby Portis, and Wendell Carter Jr., in this evening’s contest.
The Bulls, winners of 27 games last season start the season without Lauri Markkanen and all eyes will be on former NBA slam dunk champion, Zach LaVine.
LaVine, 23, the 13th overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves signed a four-year, $78 million deal with the Chicago Bulls this offseason and was involved in the trade that sent Jimmy Butler to the T-Wolves and brought Markkanen to the Windy City.
This summer, Lavine worked on his game heavily this summer. He spent time in the Seattle-area with Phoenix Suns guard, Jamal Crawford and Philadelphia 76ers guard, Markelle Fultz.
Some of those videos made the Instagram highlight reel…even an off the wall pass from Crawford to Fultz that resulted in an electric dunk! “Yeah, Zach didn’t know I was going to throw that,” Jamal Crawford told me this summer on Scoop B Radio.
“That one particular play where I freeze the defense and throw a lob, if you go back and watch that play, my own teammate threw a lob to him. And I thought the defender knew I wanted to go to Zach, which he did, so I had to sell it as if I was going to the other teammate. I pride myself on being able to play with players in any circumstance, I pride myself on being able to adjust….I could play with anybody and we had a lot of fun doing it.”
LaVine has a chance to come into his own on a Chicago Bulls team that many pundits are looking past this season. Winners of 27 games last year, the Bulls first big test comes against a talented Sixers team who are coming off of a blowout loss to the Boston Celtics, Tuesday evening.
LaVine will play against a familiar opponent in Markelle Fultz. Last season, Fultz averaged 7.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 3.8 assists. That data doesn’t tell the whole story, however.
Last offseason, Fultz, the first pick in the 2017 NBA Draft returned back to the Sixers’ lineup late in-season after returning from an off-season injury that changed his shooting form.
It’s disappointing because the 6-foot-4 guard put up stellar numbers in college. In his lone season at Washington, he averaged darn near 23 points, six assists, and six rebounds.
Year two in Philly, Fultz has gotta produce. “He’s ready,” Zach LaVine told me Tuesday in between conducting duties as the face of Zenni Optical.
Fultz averaged a mere 18 minutes per game last season and didn’t have a good showing Tuesday night in the season opener against the Boston Celtics. Fultz mustered up 5 points on 2-of-7 shooting.
It’s a long season and it’s obvious that Fultz has something to prove. LaVine and Fultz hooped a ton this summer and Lavine also told me Tuesday that Fultz “looked good,” during their games played.
Fultz worked with shooting coach, Drew Hanlen over the summer to change his shooting range of motion and that became “a thing” via social media and the 24-hour sports talk show vortex.
LaVine and Fultz put their summer, offseason skills training to the test tonight in the City of Brotherly Love.
To quote Bart Scott: “Can’t wait.”