Five questions for the start of Bulls training camp

Now that there's some clarity on Lonzo Ball's injury status, what are the other storylines for the start of Bulls' training camp?

This has been a low-news summer for the Bulls, who are counting on continuity and better health to make an improvement. The first practice is set for Tuesday at the Advocate Center, with the preseason opener a week later. Media day is Monday.

So here are five things to watch as the Bulls try to extend their playoff streak to two:

Is it Williams season?

Obviously, the Bulls' improvement plan is counting heavily on 2020 first-round pick Patrick Williams. Some might suggest Williams doesn't need to improve his skills as much as he needs an attitude adjustment, as in learning to be more aggressive.

That's easier said than done while sharing the court with a couple of ball-dominant 20-point scorers. But Williams' teammates were pumping him up at the end of last season and he finished with a pair of 20-point games against Milwaukee in the playoffs.

Then again, Williams grabbed just 1 rebound in the Game 5 season-ender, which is the sort of empty stat sheet moment the Bulls hope will disappear.

What about LaVine's knee?

While Ball needs a second arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, the outcome of Zach LaVine's knee scope in May seems to be much better. Now the highest-paid athlete in Chicago sports history, what will a healthier LaVine look like?

His numbers declined last season from his 2020-21 performance. How much of that was because he played on a sore knee and how much was due to DeMar DeRozan dropping in as the Bulls' leading scorer?

If LaVine and DeRozan can thrive together, the Bulls might have a chance to win more games. If they can include center Nikola Vucevic in that success mix, even better.

What happens at point guard?

Keep in mind, if Ball is feeling healthy and able to return a month or two into the regular season, the Bulls will be in good shape. In the meantime, it's probably a matter of whether coach Billy Donovan decides to start Alex Caruso or Ayo Dosunmu.

Veteran Goran Dragic seems more likely to land a bench role at age 36, but he's certainly capable of filling in as the starter. Williams is the main focus among the young guys, but improvement from Dosunmu, Coby White and rookie Dalen Terry is another key factor for the Bulls.

Is there enough height?

If Williams suffers an injury, the Bulls are basically back to Javonte Green and Derrick Jones Jr. at power forward. The Bulls aren't likely to use Vucevic and newcomer Andre Drummond together, but who knows?

That might be the thinking behind inviting 6-10 Kostas Antetokounmpo to training camp. Two-way player Justin Lewis suffered a knee injury in the summer and probably won't play this season. So it's possible the Bulls could adjust some contracts to keep Giannis' younger brother, who has played in 22 NBA games with the Lakers and Mavs.

What about the competition?

Two additions in particular stood out in the East - Cleveland landing Donovan Mitchell and Atlanta getting Dejounte Murray. Those two teams were part of the play-in tourney last spring, a few games behind the Bulls. In addition, Brooklyn could conceivably have better participation from Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons.

If the Bulls stay the same, they're going to sink in the standings, barring a ton of injury bad luck by other teams. So the health and continuity plans needs to work.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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