Like every other sports league in the world, this year has certainly been different for the NBA. After the pandemic shut down the league in March, it took almost five months for the NBA to return. Games resumed without fans and when it was all said and done the Los Angeles Lakers were crowned NBA Champions.
Fast forward to the NBA draft where our Chicago Bulls finally received a pick within the top seven and selected Patrick Williams 4th overall. If you haven’t been tuning into any preseason games, Williams can play. He’s already earned starting minutes with new head coach Billy Donovan and while he’s not running up the stat sheet, he plays efficiently on both ends of the court. If this continues into the Chicago Bulls season, it’s sure to bode well for his development as a potential young star. We’re here to break down some keys to the start of the Chicago Bulls 2021 season and a couple games to circle on your calendar with the NBA set to return on Tuesday night!
Early Keys to the Chicago Bulls 2021 Season
March 10th was the last day we saw the Chicago Bulls suit up for a regular season game, and a lot has changed for this team since. Many of the changes occurred in the front office and we think we speak for many fans when we say that we’re happy the GarPax era is over. Gar Foreman and John Paxson are still with the team, but their influence over roster moves is gone. Newly hired GM Marc Eversly and VP of Operations Arturas Karnisovas will lead the way for this organization as they continue the rebuild. One of the big keys to early success will be how this front office performs, and more specifically, how new head coach Billy Donovan does with the job. It’s no secret that there were plenty of squabbles between the players and last year’s head coach, Jim Boylen. Hopefully Donovan has established himself as a leader amongst this group and he can continue to prove himself to this team and earn their respect as the season goes on.
Another key to the Chicago Bulls 2021 season will be how the players develop and improve on last year. While Zach LaVine doesn’t have much more to prove, other players sure do. Lauri Markkenan will look to reestablish himself as the player he was a few years ago. Last season, Markkenan struggled to get things going offensively, which didn’t help other areas of his game. Coby White will look to build upon a successful first season. If he can continue to play his game the way he does best, he’ll surely become a player that teams start to fear.
The older players on this team aren’t the only ones to keep an eye on as the season goes on. In fact, one of the most important players to watch will be rookie Patrick Williams. Like we said before, Williams is good. He’s pretty close to having a starting job on this roster if he doesn’t already, and all the playing time he receives will only help him get better. Over the course of the Bulls season, we wouldn’t be surprised if Williams is in talks for Rookie of the Year. There was plenty of talent in this draft class, but there wasn’t one guy who stood out from the bunch. Patrick Williams easily has a shot at the award as one of the better players in this draft class.
Must-See Matchups to Start The 2021 NBA Season
Outside of blocking out time for every single Chicago Bulls game on the schedule, there are other matchups to look out for early in the year. On opening night, the LA Lakers will face the LA Clippers in a Western Conference showdown we didn’t get to see in the playoffs. The defending champions certainly have an edge as Los Angeles’ top team, but the Clippers will come out with a chip on their shoulder after the way last season ended. Among the other matchups that make for some must-watch entertainment are the Christmas day games. This Christmas, there will be five NBA games between the Pelicans and Heat, Warriors and Bucks, Nets and Celtics, Mavericks and Lakers, and Clippers and Nuggets. All of those games will feature some of the league’s top talent as well as some superstars returning from injuries. Most notably, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry who were both out for nearly all of last season. The NBA and its fans will be happy to see those two guys return.
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Featured Image Credit: Chicago Bulls Instagram