I have a confession to make. Watching the early success this season of the Chicago Bulls makes me really question if I actually know anything about the game of basketball. You can put me firmly in the camp that felt that the Bulls were doomed to be a slogging, clogged toilet-bowl on offense and a broken screen door on defense. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to becoming the Orlando Magic (sorry, Magic fans...your team is awful right now). The Bulls have had the 7th best offense in the league so far, and their defense sure makes it look like they've dipped that screen door in a vat of Flex Seal Liquid.
Coming into tonight's game against the Denver Nuggets, the Bulls are a surprising - well, surprising to me, at least - 9-5 on the season, with a slew of quality wins on their resume. Jimmy Butler is playing really good ball on both sides. Jerian Grant has really done a solid job at the starting PG position (I would keep Rajon Rondo on the bench if I were Fred Hoiberg). If the Nuggets want to finish this home stand on a positive note, they're going to really have to play a solid game - actually, pretty much like every game they've played over the last three games.
Three things I'm looking for:
Emmanuel Mudiay passing to the right team
Before the last game, I wrote about the recent improvement of Emmanuel Mudiay's floor game, and he really played under control against the Jazz. His 10-8-8 game, with nary a turnover to be found, is exactly the type of game I would like to see from him consistently. If he occasionally explodes points-wise, all the better. (And yes, I'm going to keep putting this in the three things if he keeps playing like this. Why take a chance?)
The Sapphire Sagittarian
OK, that probably won't replace the Blue Arrow as the nickname for Jamal Murray. How about the Azure Archer? No? Fine. Either way, I'm enjoying seeing Murray start to show the shooting that made all of Nuggets Nation swoon when he fell to the team at seven. Keep shooting you beatific bowman.
The beautiful game
When Pele was leading the Brazilian National team playing what he termed "The Beautiful Game." It focused on crisp passing, attacking football played with grace and style. Against the Jazz, the Nuggets passed the ball aggressively and with purpose. The ball was flying around on the offensive end. Even if we can't approach the 31 assists we had vs. Utah, I hope we continue to play, well, beautifully.