Carlos Boozer shouldered the load for Chicago, finishing with an impressive 24 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. The latter is perhaps the most significant, as Boozer acted as a facilitator for a Bulls offense without a main distributor with Kirk Hinrich leaving early and Derrick Rose out.
Luol Deng finished with 21 points in the victory. While he only shot 5-of-12 from the field, his 11 free throw attempts are a positive sign that his wrist has improved. While injured last year, Deng tended to settle for outside jumpers rather than slashing inside, so seeing an increase in free throw attempts should be an indicator that he’s feeling better.
Joakim Noah had a solid all-around game, contributing 15 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks on the night. The Bulls will be looking for offense from every position this year, and Noah’s workouts with legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar should help improve his scoring in 2013.
Hinrich injured his groin, which is his second injury in the preseason. The Bulls can’t afford to lose any more depth at point guard, as rookie Marquis Teague does not look ready to play NBA minutes this year. While Nate Robinson has looked good, the Bulls need Hinrich to be healthy, and thus far the signs have not been encouraging.
The bench struggled again against the Thunder, scoring only 13 points. The “Bench Mob” was one of the team’s biggest assets over the last two seasons, and will need this new group to come together for regular season success.
Marco Belinelli has frequented this section throughout the preseason. He didn’t play much against the Thunder, but has not come close to meeting expectations set for him before the preseason. Belinelli still hasn’t hit a three-pointer, one of the main things he was acquired for.
The Bulls played a realistic, regular season rotation against a Thunder squad without Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook, and still barely won. The Bulls are still trying to iron out the kinks, but they should have fared better against the Thunder’s second unit.
The Bulls conclude the preseason Friday against the Indiana Pacers.
Zach Mink covers the Chicago Bulls for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @zachmink12 for more news and analysis.