An “all-in” offseason has Chicago fans optimistic heading into the October 20th Bulls at Pistons season opener. The Bulls enter year two of the Billy Donovan era trying to snap a four year playoff drought boosted by the additions of newcomers Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan.
The Pistons were hoping to debut #1 draft pick Cade Cunningham on Wednesday but he suffered an ankle injury at the beginning of training camp and will be out the first couple weeks of the regular season. As a result Chicago is a -5 point favorite for the opener, and the public is hammering the Bulls.
Chicago’s Roster Looks Talented
The Bulls don’t seem to have a lot of weaknesses heading into the 2021/22 season. First and foremost they have an experienced coach in Billy Donovan, and the team should show improvement in the 2nd year in his system especially with the offseason being so convoluted in 2020 due to COVID protocols.
Zach Lavine returns as the face of the franchise after averaging 27.4 ppg last year. Lavine should also be more comfortable playing with Nikola Vucevic (23.4 ppg) after the big man came over from Orlando at last year’s trade deadline and Lonzo Ball will pick up a majority of the ball handling duties allowing Lavine to be even more of a scoring threat. Having DeMar DeRozan as a 3rd or 4th scoring option is a luxury not a lot of other teams have after he put up 21.6 ppg with the Spurs last year.
Chicago also has some nice depth which may not be readily available for the October 20th Bulls at Pistons matchup. 2nd year player Patrick Williams is questionable with an ankle injury while 3rd year player Coby White is out until November with a shoulder injury. Alex Caruso is an underrated offseason signee after a couple of solid seasons with the Lakers and the Bulls also drafted Ayo Dosunmu who averaged 20.1 ppg at Illinois last year.
Pistons Shorthanded in Opener
Detroit fans will have to wait a bit to see the debut of Cunningham, the #1 overall pick out of Oklahoma State that averaged 20.1 ppg at Oklahoma State last season. Fellow rookie Isaiah Livers is also out until early November with a foot injury.
The motto for the Pistons this season is ‘potential’, because Detroit has some upside with 1st team all-rookie selection last year Saddiq Bey and 2nd teamer Isaiah Stewart but obviously they are still very young. The Pistons are also hoping for better things from another rookie from a year ago, Killian Hayes, the #7 overall pick who averaged just 6.8 ppg while battling injuries all season.
Jerami Grant had a breakout season with 22.3 ppg last year and the Pistons look like they’ve brought in some serviceable big men in veteran Kelly Olynyk and rookie Luka Garza (24.1 ppg at Iowa last season).
October 20th Bulls at Pistons Pick
The big question here is how well all the new faces on Chicago will mesh. With some growing pains expected and Detroit having an underrated roster the play for this one is the Pistons getting the 5 points at home.
Pistons 113 – Bulls 109
Free Pick: Pistons -5