The Bulls haven't garnered much respect in the national media. And on top of that, Las Vegas definitely has already put the Bulls out of the running for a playoff spot, pegging them for 27.5 wins. But when it comes to doubting the Bulls, count Bobby Portis out.
In an appearance on the Locked on Bulls Podcast last week, Portis stated that the Bulls would benefit from defined roles and was very confident in the team's outlook.
He went on to say that the Bulls will be "really good" and that the reason the team didn't win was because they "never got a chance to gel as one cohesive unit".
Portis compared this current Bulls team to an upstart Eastern Conference squad from last season.
He said, "There's always a surprise team, I feel like last year the Pacers were the, surprise team in the East, y'know? Maybe that can be us this year."
Portis is correct in the assessment that more practice time together as a whole unit will have a positive effect on the team. LaVine especially, should be able to hit the ground running after playing 24 games with the Bulls last year and now having a full training camp and preseason under his belt as well. And Portis himself, no longer worried about competing for a starting job, should continue to bring high-energy, scoring and rebounding to lead the bench unit.
But his comparison of this year's Bulls team to the '17-'18 Pacers is perhaps the most intriguing.
The Pacers surprise season last year was spurred on by the excellent play of Victor Oladipo, the 2018 NBA Most Improved Player. If one of LaVine, Jabari Parker, Markkanen, Dunn or even Portis himself, can make a jump of this nature into (or near) All-Star status, then of course the sky's the limit for the '18-'19 Bulls.
Near the end of the Portis interview on Locked on Bulls, Portis is asked to finish the sentence "The Chicago Bulls are going to win BLANK games this season." Portis responded that the Bulls are going to "win as many games as we can and we gonna make the playoffs."
Hopefully the rest of the Bulls are as confident as Portis. It could be just the attitude the team needs to get off to a fast start.