Paul Sullivan: 'Zo Time' has arrived. Could Chicago become a Bulls town again thanks to an exciting, revamped roster with Lonzo Ball pulling the strings?

Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Basketball

Ball said the Bulls are well aware of their limitations as an undersized team. They’re willing to stick their nose in and try to force loose balls and out-hustle opponents, knowing it’s the best plan of attack.

“We know that we’re smaller than a lot of teams, so we have to use our quickness and our athleticism to our abilities, and that translates into using hands and coming down and doubling,” Ball said. “And when you see the ball, going for it. Everybody has that mindset right now and probably (is) why we’re getting a lot of deflections as a team.”

The Bulls schedule gets more difficult in the coming weeks, starting with the New York Knicks in town Thursday, a celebration of Joakim Noah’s career. That’s followed by the Western Conference-favorite Utah Jazz on Oct. 30 and four games from Nov. 1-8 against Eastern Conference powers Boston, Philadelphia (twice) and Brooklyn.

Soon after comes the always-difficult West Coast swing in mid-November, formerly known as the “Circus Trip.” There no doubt will be rough patches as coach Billy Donovan uses different rotations to create havoc, trying to find good combos with a lack of depth. But unlike recent years, you won’t need the remote ready to switch channels at halftime.

So can Chicago be a Bulls town again?


“I don’t know if any town can be what Chicago was in the ’90s because you can argue that was the most impactful era in NBA history,” Bulls play-by-play man Adam Amin said Friday. “When you’re arguably part of the legacy of a sport for a decade, it’s hard to top that for anybody.

“I don’t think this ever was not a basketball town, but I’m also significantly biased. I believe the energy in this era can be something that’s completely different. We’re in a different era of social media, of fan engagement, and the NBA’s popularity is pretty darn good. The athletes playing right now are at a different level collectively than we might have ever seen.

“So while it may not be what a lot of us remember the ’90s to be, it can be something actually unique — a one-of-a-kind feeling in this city, based on whatever fans’ pipe dreams are about what the potential is of this organization.”

It’s their town to take. Let’s see if they can run with it.

©2021 Chicago Tribune. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.