Bulls

Injured Watson tagging along for Bulls' road trip

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Injured Watson tagging along for Bulls' road trip

AUBURN HILLS, MICH. Despite suffering a painful elbow injury in the Bulls 40-point home-opening win over the Grizzlies on Sunday, backup point guard C.J. Watson is with the team on its current road trip.

Id rather be here with my teammates. Id rather be here cheering them on, be with the team, just being around the players, said Watson, who will do cardiovascular work and ride an exercise bike while his left arm is in a sling to maintain a semblance of fitness. Theres not a better feeling than being around your teammates and being around the game you love.

Before the Bulls' game against the Pistons Wednesday, head coach Tom Thibodeau lauded Watson's devotion to the team.

"You saw the injury. He is tough. He's anxious to get back," said Thibodeau. "He's such a big part of the team. I like having him around. I think it's important for him mentally to be on top of what we're doing."

The injury was certainly a setback for the Bulls, who will turn to third-string point guard John Lucas III in his absence and will also lean on swingman Ronnie Brewer for additional ballhandling duties, but will most likely increase starter Derrick Roses minutes in close-game situations. But Watson had been playing well early in the season, dishing out nine assists in the Bulls win at Sacramento and sparking an eventually-failed comeback against his former team, Golden State.

Its a sprain and a tear in my ligament, and just day-to-day. Maybe a week, week-and-a-half, two weeks, I dont know yet. It just depends on how I feel and how fast it heals, said Watson prior to Wednesdays game against the Pistons. Im going to come back when Im ready and able to play, and actually help the team. Im not going to try to rush it back or anything like that, so just going to take it day by day and see how it feels.

I watched it a couple of times and it hurt me just looking at it, and it happened to me, so it was pretty bad, he elaborated. I didnt know what it was. I just know that it hurt real bad and I know that I would miss some time, and thank God its not a knee thing or anything, so just try to heal fast and get back on the court with my teammates.

As gruesome as the injury was, Watson was prepared for the results, after suffering a similar injury to his back in the 2009, when he was with the Warriors.

I actually did the same thing to my right elbow. Thats why I wear the arm sleeve. I know how it feels and how its going to heal. I didnt miss that much time, so hopefully I wont miss much time now, said Watson, who is right-handed. Actually, I dove over the chairs of the bench. I fell on the concrete and hit my elbow, so that one probably hurt a little worse.

I just wore a brace and went out there and played, and it just started to heal on its own, he continued. It affected me a little bit. I couldnt really shoot long distance, passing was off, dribbling was off, everything was different, so its going to take some time to get back to normal.

Watson joked that he wouldnt make the same mistake again.

Especially when were up by 40. Im going to start chilling. Im going to have them be mad at me from now. Its too much of a risk out there.

Bulls continue stockpiling young point guards

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USA TODAY

Bulls continue stockpiling young point guards

Point Guard of the Future Part VIII? 

The Bulls added another guard to their already-claustrophobic backcourt on Monday, claiming Kay Felder off free agency waivers, according to The Vertical's Shams Charania. 

Felder, 22, was dealt alongside Richard Jefferson from the Cavaliers to the Hawks on Saturday before being immediately waived.

The Bulls then decided to take a flyer on the Oakland University product because why the heck not? Barring some type of NBA miracle, the Bulls are on a season-long march to the lottery, so adding another young player can't hurt. Even if Felder is now the fifth point guard, joining Cameron Payne, Kris Dunn, Ryan Arcidiacono and Jerian Grant, on the squad. 

In 42 games with the Cavs last season, Felder averaged four points and 1.4 assists in just over nine minutes. He was drafted with the hope that he could further his NCAA reputation as a scorer. However, he connected on just 39 percent from the field during his rookie season. He's also undersized -- like Nate Robinson-Isaiah Thomas Undersized -- lowering his ceiling as a defender. 

Whether he can find a niche as a second-unit heat check guy remains to be seen, but with Kris Dunn expected to miss a few weeks, it gives Fred Hoiberg another option at the very least. He's also former NBA All-Star Steve Smith's cousin, should you believe in the power of basketball families. 

In a corresponding move, the Bulls waived Diamond Stone and preseason hero, Jarell Eddie. 

Observations from the Bulls' preseason finale loss to the Raptors

Observations from the Bulls' preseason finale loss to the Raptors

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Justin Holiday shines again

It's pretty evident who the leader of the Bulls is through the preseason. Whether he wanted it or not - and it seems like he did - Justin Holiday is the go-to man in Chicago. He finished his impressive presason with a 17-point outing against the Raptors, including 6-for-12 shooting, four 3-pointers, a steal and a block in 28 minutes. He even added four assists, showing some playmaking to go along with his scoring. He finishes the preseason averaging 17.2 points on 44 percent shooting, 57 percent (!!) from deep and 1.6 steals. He and LaVine will be fun to watch together on the wing.

Lauri Markkanen's jumper stays confident

Lauri Markkanen's NBA career got off to a rough start. But he's more than righted the ship. Gone is the 1-for-9 performance in his first outing, and in is the 11-for-21 he shot in his final two games. That included 7-for-12 from deep, and he even added seven rebounds on Friday against Toronto. Markkanen has plenty of weight to put on before he can hang inside - Toronto's tough interior pushed him around quite a bit in his 29 minutes - but this was another step in the right direction for Markkanen, whose back issues seemed non-existent.

Jerian Grant flirts with a triple-double

Jerian Grant was likely to earn the starting point guard job out of training camp even if Kris Dunn didn't get injured, and tonight would have solidified it. Grant had 10 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in 27 efficient minutes. Though Kyle Lowry had his way (17 points in 26 minutes) that was more or less to be expected. But Grant was confident stepping into his shot, played aggressive on defense (two steals, two fouls) and found plenty of open shooters. The Bulls may struggle this season, but Fred Hoiberg has to be happy starting a backcourt of Grant and Holiday.

Bobby Portis: Some good, some really bad

Bobby Portis has had a not-so-great preseason, so it was nice to see him score 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting and grab four rebounds in his preseason finale. Then again, he played 18 minutes and somehow committed eight turnovers. Between losing balls in traffic, errant passes and some head-scratching decisions, it was tough to call Portis' night a success. He should find time on the second unit, but he needs to show improvement in all areas, not just scoring.

Antonio Blakeney gives it one (nine) last shot(s)

It'd be nice to see a great story like Antonio Blakeney stick on the Bulls' roster, and he made sure he was remembered in his final preseason game. In 20 minutes he took nine shots, hitting three for nine points. He didn't record any other stat but three fouls in his time on the floor, and was a -21 as the Raptors rode away with the win in the fourth quarter. But we're putting him here because there's a chance he can make the Bulls' roster, especially with LaVine out and Zipser potentially needing to miss time.