On July 31, professional basketball returns to the spotlight as the NBA plans on resuming the 2019-2020 season. When the league first made their announcement, they decided on only allowing the top 22 teams in the standings to return to play. Unfortunately, this meant that our favorite hometown team, the Bulls, was done for the year. Up until recently, we had no timeline on when the Chicago Bulls would return to play, but all that has changed in the past week.
Recent talks around the league have hinted towards a second ‘bubble’ for the eight teams not headed to Orlando. A recent report by ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan indicates that these discussions are pretty serious, which is great news for Bulls fans. There’s a strong chance we’ll see Chicago Bulls basketball return a lot earlier than we thought!
How a Second ‘Bubble’ Would Work
In order for a second bubble to work, there are a few challenges the league will have to overcome. The first of these is settling on a location where the second bubble will take place.
As of late, all reports indicate that Chicago will be the chosen destination if a second bubble occurs. Before the league settled on restarting the season in Orlando, Chicago was one of the cities that they considered in their original bubble. Ultimately, Orlando was given the go-ahead because they could create their own campus to contain the players at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. But now with only eight teams included in a second bubble, Chicago becomes much more feasible. The NBA also has the added benefit of learning from the first bubble, which helps expedite things for the second one if it occurs. All of the safety protocols the league is implementing due to the Coronavirus are expected to be enforced at the second site in Chicago.
After choosing a location, teams will have to make decisions on who to play during these games. Coaches have stressed the importance of the bubble towards the development of younger players. A second bubble allows for mini-camps and scrimmage games, something that is needed after the shutdown placed a pause on all basketball-related activities. It’s also likely that games played in the Chicago bubble will have zero significance towards standings or the future draft order. This means players like Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors might opt to sit-out of playing at all until next year. While that might take away from the overall excitement, it gives more opportunities to younger players on teams playing in Chicago.
What to Watch for if the Chicago Bulls Return
Should the league choose to move forward with the second-bubble, there will be a couple of things to look for in the Chicago Bulls return to play. For starters, it will be interesting to see which of our players choose to play. While players like Zach LaVine or Lauri Markennan might sit-out, our younger stars will have the chance to be put in the spotlight.
Before the season came to a halt, rookie Coby White was on a tear over his last ten games. White averaged nearly 34 minutes of playing time, shooting 46 percent and averaging 24.7 points-per-game. It’ll be fun to see if he can keep things going after the hiatus. Among other things to look out for will be the coaching of Jim Boylen. Throughout the season, Boylen had difficulties getting through to the team, which was visible on the court. He’s definitely on the hot-seat for next year, but this second bubble might be exactly what he needs to prove himself. That being said, we can’t wait to see the Chicago Bulls return this year!
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Featured Image Credit: Chicago Bulls Instagram