By Drew Stevens
Between a fast and furious takeoff, more national exposure and a trip abroad, the upcoming Bulls campaign is swimming in intrigue
Question marks abound for a Chicago Bulls team relying on continuity and a better turn of the cards entering the 2022-2023 NBA season.
But, with the release of this upcoming campaign’s schedule Wednesday, the path toward what they hope is a step up the ladder from last season’s success no longer requires one.
So, without further ado, here’s a few things to lookout for as the Bulls seek to string together consecutive winning seasons for the first time in seven years.
Coming in Hot
The Bulls start things off on the road Wednesday, Oct. 19 at FTX Arena against Miami, last season’s Eastern Conference pacesetter.
The Heat lost P.J. Tucker, who chose to reunite with his former Houston Rockets teammates James Harden and Daniel House Jr., this offseason. So, this isn’t the same team who swept last year’s season-series and outscored the Bulls by 22 points with Tucker on the court.
Still, the Bulls have only beaten the Heat once in seven tries since Jimmy Butler found his (mostly) happy place in South Beach.
Want more? Following the opener against the Heat, the Bulls will play eight more games in the season’s first 13 days, including three back-to-back sets.
How’s Lonzo Ball’s rehab going again?
Sweet Home Chicago
The Bulls welcome Cleveland to town for their home-opener Saturday, Oct. 22.
Considering Artūras Karnišovas said Lonzo Ball is getting better but “probably not at the speed that we would like,” it’s a long shot. Yet this could be the first time fans see the starting lineup of Ball, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Williams, and Nikola Vučević since last October.
Without Ball, the Bulls won both contest against Cavs at home by an average margin of 11.5 points.
The Bulls host New Orleans, Denver and Milwaukee during their four-game preseason slate. But the Cavs represent their first guest in a game that counts since a 24-point loss to the Bucks in Game 4 of the first round of last season’s playoffs.
Show and Tell
After notching 46 wins and ending a five-year playoff drought last season, the Bulls have earned a greater share of the spotlight this time around.
Spread across three networks — ESPN (7), NBA TV (4) and TNT (3) — the Bulls have 14 nationally televised games on their docket this season. That includes a matchup against Milwaukee at the United Center Thursday, Feb. 16 and the revival of the #TNTBulls, who’ve won 20-straight regular-season home games played on that particular day of the week on that particular network.
Now, the Bulls won’t have as much time in the catbird seat as the defending champion Golden State Warriors (42) Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics (37). But after 13 appearances last season, beggars can’t be choosers.
Especially considering how they fared (5-8) under the bright lights a season ago.
Hang it in the Louvre!
The Bulls square off against Detroit in Paris Jan. 19. It’ll be the team’s first trip back to Europe since Michael Jordan and Artūras Karnišovas went blow-for-blow for their respective teams more than 25 years ago.
Jordan led all scorers with 27 points and the Bulls to a 104-78 victory over Karnišovas’ Olympiakos squad, for whom he scored 19 points, back then.
The Bulls took all four meetings against the Pistons last season, including a 46-point drubbing at the United Center. But things could get interesting on a neutral court opposite Cade Cunningham and recent fifth-overall pick Jaden Ivy.