CLEVELAND — Random notes and thoughts on the Chicago Bulls from their 108-94 preseason win over the host Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday.
1. Justin Holiday looks like a nice offseason pickup for the Bulls. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard finished with double digits in points (a game-high 28), double digits in rebounds (11) and was perfect from the free throw line (8-of-8).
2. Holiday can shoot from the perimeter (4-of-7 on 3-pointers) and is athletic enough to drive and dunk in traffic. The young and rebuilding Bulls are going to need somebody to score, especially until guard Zach LaVine returns from an ACL injury. Holiday can be that man.
3. Basketball runs in the Holiday blood — as Justin is the older brother of New Orleans Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday. Another brother, Aaron Holiday, plays for UCLA. Their sister, Lauren Holiday, is a member of the UCLA women’s team.
4. Remember, we’re talking about the same Justin Holiday who is 28-years old and has played for four other teams. Last season, he averaged 7.7 games in 82 games with the New York Knicks.
5. Holiday has also spent time in the G League, as well as Belgium and Hungary. There was also a 27-game stint with the Bulls two years ago. Now, he will get every opportunity to be one of those cool tales about journeymen who finally find the right fit.
6. Also looking good for the Bulls: Second-year shooting guard Denzel Valentine, who scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 14 minutes.
7. Rookie forward Lauri Markkanen looks considerably more comfortable on the perimeter than around the basket. But he has great length, a nice touch and could be another really nice piece moving forward. The Bulls drafted the Finnish 7-footer with the seventh overall pick out of Arizona.
8. Starting forward Nikola Mirotic played just seven minutes before rolling his ankle. The injury occurred after he stepped on the foot of former teammate and current Cavs guard Dwyane Wade. But Mirotic said he would have played had this been a regular-season game, and doesn’t consider the mishap to be anything serious.
9. I spoke with some Chicago writers and most felt the Bulls won’t be as bad as we all expect. One predicted they would at least be better than the Knicks. Not sure the Knicks are exactly the gold standard of pro hoops — but hey, this is the East, where the bottom three playoff seeds are always up for grabs.
10. Overall, the Bulls are likely to struggle through a maddening, inconsistent season centered on youth. Still, there are some very clear reasons for hope. It will just be interesting to see if coach Fred Hoiberg can survive the season.
Sam Amico is the founder and senior writer of AmicoHoops.net. Follow him on Twitter @AmicoHoops.