Here are Three Things to Watch in the Bulls' Wednesday tilt against the Heat on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live.
1. The point guard carousel.
Jerian Grant will get the start for the Bulls, but the real story here is how Kris Dunn progresses. Back from his dislocated finger, Dunn needs to grab the starting reins sooner than later. As last season's No. 5 pick, he's integral to the future. The sooner he starts putting it all together for the Bulls, the sooner the rebuild gets moving. It's a point guard league, and the Bulls need to show they have one. Dunn looked solid in his season debut, and Grant is able to play off the ball; playing the two together with Justin Holiday on the other wing is arguably the Bulls' best backcourt. Keep an eye on this "competition" between Dunn and Grant.
2. Lauri gets a difficult task
Lauri Markkanen has proved to be a matchup nightmare two weeks into his NBA career. Through six games he's averaging 15.6 points and 9.6 rebounds in a whopping 32.3 minutes. He's got at least two 3-pointers and eight rebounds in every game, and the Bulls are 19 (NINETEEN!) points per 100 possession better offensively when he's on the floor. But he'll be tested against a super-athletic Heat frontcourt that includes James Johnson (yes, that James Johnson), Kelly Olynyk and Jordan Mickey. One could make the argument that this is the toughest defense Markkanen has faced to date. He's passed every test he's faced thus far.
3. Offense...may be difficult to come by
There's a chance Hassan Whiteside returns to the Heat lineup for the first time since Opening Night. That would make life a lot more difficult on a Bulls team that ranks dead last in the NBA in offensive efficiency by a considerable margin. In fact, the Bulls' 91.0 offensive rating would be the worst mark from any NBA team since 2008. They'll improve over the course of the year - Nikola Mirotic would help - but right now life is difficult on Fred Hoiberg's group. And against a Heat defense that has looked solid much of the year (aside from their ugly loss to the Timberwolves on Monday), expect a low-scoring affair at the United Center.