Bulls

Windy City Bulls bi-weekly roundup: Tyler Ulis

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Windy City Bulls bi-weekly roundup: Tyler Ulis

Every two weeks we will be looking at one player performing well with the Windy City Bulls in the NBA G League and take a look at how they could help the Chicago Bulls (NBA).In his two NBA seasons, Tyler Ulis averaged 7.5 points, 4 assists, and 1 steal per game for the Phoenix Suns. The Marian Catholic alum signed a two-way deal with the Windy City Bulls this offseason, looking to prove he is a legitimate, NBA rotation-caliber point guard.

Entering Wednesday night’s game against the Memphis Hustle, Ulis is averaging 23 points, 3 rebounds and 8 assists per game.


Most impressive is the fact that the 5-foot 8 Ulis is getting to the free throw line nine times per game. That kind of volume and accuracy--83 percent from FT line--at the charity stripe can make up for the fact that he has yet to develop a reliable 3-point shot.

Despite shooting 26 percent from the 3-point line, he is still getting up just under five 3-point attempts per game. This can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. I lean towards seeing the positive in this figure. If Ulis is to get the call up to the NBA (Chicago Bulls) at some point, Chicago will benefit greatly from his aggressiveness in getting to the basket. But for him to stick with this team long-term, he will need to keep defenses honest by at least attempting to be a threat from deep.

Overall he is still committing too many turnovers (3 per game) but the advanced numbers suggest his making strides as a player capable of running an offense for at least limited stretches.


He is in the “Zach LaVine-role in the G League--has a sky-high 33 percent usage rate--on a struggling (1-4) team and so it is quite normal that his field goal percentage is not great, even more so since he is taking a bit of punishment at the rim with all the fouls he is absorbing.

A bigger sample size is needed to see if the remarkable (considering his size) free throw attempt rate is sustainable, but right now he is looking like he deserves a shot at spot minutes with the bench unit.

One of the (many) issues with the Bulls defense is the lack of turnovers they generate. Chicago is 23rd in the league in opponent's turnover rate, and Shaquille Harrison and Justin Holiday have been the only players to rate above average in steal percentage.

Ulis has been very good at generating turnovers, which helps mitigate the fact that he is undersized. His two steals per game would lead the Bulls. With the starters, Ulis would be counted on to knock away entry passes in the post if he was to get a bigger man matched up on him. But playing him in lineups with Lopez would benefit both of them since neither are proficient in switching defenses.

Through Wednesday afternoon, the Bulls best two-man pairings in terms of opponent’s effective field goal percentage were:

Lopez-Holiday: 43.9 percent

Lopez-Portis: 44 percent

Lopez-Hutchison: 44.1 percent

When you look further down the list, you notice that the Ryan Arcidiacono-Lopez pairing has held opponents to a lower percentage than Cam Payne-Lopez duo. This by no means shocking, and is a big part of why Fred Hoiberg has went to Arcidiacono over Payne as of late.

With Lopez and Wendell Carter Jr. (to a much greater degree) showing the ability to block shots at a high level, it would be great to see what Ulis can do at the point. Switching is a good defensive strategy but certain teams demand that your guards simply fight over screens to avoid confusion, as well as get hands in the passing lanes on the pick-and-roll early and often.

Ulis is small, but he, Harrison, Holiday, Arcidiacono and Hutchison could make up a solid point guard/swingman rotation that would provide a solid defensive component on a team that has made little strides on that end of the floor. The Bulls are going to be a bad defense until the team is 100 percent healthy and maybe even after that. And with that in mind, Ulis is at least worth a brief call-up on a team that appears to be placing too great of a ball handling demand on LaVine.

LeBron-led Space Jam 2 gets official release date

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LeBron-led Space Jam 2 gets official release date

On Thursday night, an official release date came out for Space Jam 2, starring LeBron James.

This is the first major update to come out about the much (or not at all depending on who you talk to) anticipated sequel to the 1996, Michael Jordan-led Space Jam since the producer and director was announced.

In late September it was announced that "Black Panther" director Ryan Coogler will produce and "An  Oversimplification of Her Beauty" director Terence Nance will direct Space Jam 2.

The announcement came from the LeBron James and Maverick Carter-led Springhill Entertainment.

With the director, producer and star of the film already in place, the biggest thing to look for in the long lead-up to the release is the rest of the supporting cast. 

As of now we know that we can expect to see the usual Looney Tunes characters, but there are no official updates on what other NBA players will be in the film. Based off of James' history, we can make an educated guess that some of his longtime NBA pals will be in the mix to make the cast.

But will any (other) Chicago Bulls—past or present—make the cast? And what of Evanston-native Bill Murray, who starred alongside His Airness in the original Space Jam?

Only time will tell, but for now get pumped (or upset) because Space Jam 2 is very, very real, and on July 16, 2021, we will get to see how it holds up to the GOAT-led original.

Zion Williamson injury updated to Grade 1 right knee sprain

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Zion Williamson injury updated to Grade 1 right knee sprain

In a game in which you could spot the likes of Bulls General Manager Gar Forman and former President Barack Obama in the crowd, almost everyone came away disappointed. In the opening minute of Wednesday’s Duke-North Carolina game, Blue Devils star Zion Williamson slipped when trying to plant his foot, tearing through his PG 2.5 basketball sneaker and suffering an apparent knee/lower leg injury.

The Williamson injury happened approximately 40 seconds into the game, taking away much of the fanfare from one of the most anticipated college basketball games of the year for both fans and NBA scouts alike.

Postgame, Duke head coach Mike Krzyewski stated that Zion’s injury as of now is being labeled a mild knee sprain.

This initial diagnosis is very good for Williamson, as the injury appeared to be a much more serious knee or lower leg issue in real-time. Without Williamson, Duke had to rely heavily on freshmen RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones for offense, and Jone specifically struggled to take on a bigger role. Clearly, Williamson’s prolonged absence had both a mental and physical effect on this young Duke team. They had no rim protection without him and they severely missed his leadership once the game got out of hand.

There was no shortage of love for Zion on the night, with everyone wishing him a quick recovery, including President Obama and Nike.

As of Thursday afternoon, it was announced that Williamson is listed as day-to-day with what is now being called a Grade 1 right knee sprain.

He will almost surely missed Duke’s next game on February 23 against Syracuse. Their last game of the regular season is a rematch against UNC on March 9. After that, the Blue Devils will be getting ready for the ACC Tournament in Charlotte, that starts on March 12.

If Williamson is going to return this season, it would be reasonable to expect it to happen by the ACC Tournament, as it is hard to imagine the idea of Zion playing in the NCAA Tournament without any game reps prior.

And of course, Williamson could shut it down for the rest of the season if he wants to use this recovery period to get ready for the NBA Draft, an idea that Bulls Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen had already floated. Regardless of what Williamson chooses to do, the entire basketball world will be on the edge of their seats.