The season is still young, but through the Bulls first two games, Luol Deng - not reigning league MVP Derrick Rose - is leading the team in scoring.
Now, thats likely to change - after Roses nine-turnover game against Golden State last season, he scored 36 points and with his pledge to be more aggressive after Mondays loss to the Warriors, the All-Star point will attempt to take out his frustrations on the Kings - but Dengs early-season contributions only illustrates how important the underrated small forward is to the Bulls.
The native of Sudan came under much criticism in the wake of his long-term contract extension and subsequent injuries, but after arguably the best campaign of his eight-year career last season -- in which he played in all 82 regular-season games -- he should garner more praise, which I did recently in a column on Dengs qualifications to be the teams secondary scorer.
Take a look at his outings in the season's first two games: Deng poured in 21 points (second on the team to only Rose's 22) as part of his clutch performance in the season-opening comeback win against the Lakers on Christmas Day, then followed that up the next night with a game-high 22 in the loss to the Warriors, where he was seemingly the lone Bulls starter not out of sorts on offense.
However, with the addition of shooting guard Rip Hamilton and power forward Carlos Boozers presence, where will Deng fall in the Bulls pecking order of scorers?
Chime in here on Bulls Talk at CSNChicago.com and share your opinion in the comments section below.
Carl Edward Jr.'s return to Chicago didn't last long.
Three days -- and one appearance -- after being called up from Triple-A, Edwards is reportedly headed back to Iowa:
His lone appearance over the weekend came in the last inning of Sunday's 5-1 loss to the Padres, facing four batters before getting the last out. He allowed one earned run on one hit, but both walked and hit a batter; the two runners he inherited would score as well.
It's been a rough season for righty, who's spent much of the year on the IL or in Iowa. Back in early June, he was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left thoracic strain. When healthy, he's pitched 15.1 innings to the tune of a 5.87 ERA and 1.11 WHIP.
Up in his place is Rowan Wick, who himself has seen time in both Chicago and Iowa this season. Wick's latest stretch in Triple-A has been lights out:
NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.
School: Providence Catholic
Head coach: Mark Coglianese
Assistant coaches: Mike Hryn (D-Coordinator), Matt Hunniford O-Coordinator)
How they fared in 2018: 5-5 (1-3 CCL Blue Conference). Providence made the Class 6A state playoff field and lost to Washington in first round action.
2019 regular season schedule:
Aug. 30 @ Willowbrook
Sept. 6 vs Morgan Park
Sept. 13 @ Brother Rice
Sept. 20 vs Niles Notre Dame
Sept. 27 vs Carmel
Oct. 4 vs St. Rita
Oct. 11 @ DePaul Prep
Oct. 18 vs St Laurence
Oct. 25 @ Montini Catholic
[MORE: 68 Days to Kickoff - St. Laurence]
Biggest storyline: Feeling green. How will the Celtics fare in the new CCL/ESCC Green conference in 2019?
Names to watch this season: OL Jake Renfro (Senior, Cincinnati) and TE Jameson Geers (Junior)
Biggest holes to fill: The Celtics played several underclassmen in 2018 and welcome back 16 starters (nine offense, seven defense); that said, overall numbers and depth can always be better.
EDGY's Early Take: The Celtics suffered through various injuries last season and found themselves playing several underclassmen. Coule that pay off come August? Look for the Celtics to challenge for the CCL/ESCC Green title. Keep an eye on the Providence offense, which features four starters on the offensive line. The overall group is stacked in the skills department and they boast an experienced backfield. The opener against Willowbrook should be one of the more-interesting games in the state, as Willowbrook is coming off a 7A quarterfinal appearance.