The Chicago Bulls demolished the Cleveland Cavaliers on the night of their first preseason game with fans at the United Center.
The team beat up on the Cavaliers 131-95, winning by a margin of 36 points.
The Bulls’ outstanding defense and fast-paced offense dominated the game, but one player, in particular, stood out amongst the rest.
Javonte Green playing himself into the rotation? That athleticism is legit.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) October 6, 2021
Javonte Green’s performance turned heads on opening night.
Green replaced the injured Patrick Williams in the starting lineup. From the initial reaction, it looked like Billy Donovan was going for a guard-heavy lineup with Green, Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball. Meanwhile, letting Nikola Vucevic run the paint and DeMar DeRozan a small-ball post.
But, Green played like a big in the whole game. He flashed impeccable defense in the paint, like his early help-side defense on Jarett Allen and blocking 6-foot-10 rookie Evan Mobley.
On the offensive side, Green took it in transition and bodied former Bulls, Lauri Markkanen, for a tough layup. He also cashed in a three from the top of the key, ran in transition and snagged four offensive rebounds.
Green played 17 minutes and recorded 13 points, eight rebounds — four of which were offensive boards — two steals and four blocks.
He made six of the nine shots he took from the field and made the one and only three-pointer he took during the game.
Green’s aggressiveness and hustle will not only make him a fan-favorite in Chicago but will also get him minutes in the rotation.
Green shocked the United Center with the spark of aggression he brought in the game. At 6-foot-4, fans didn’t expect much play in the post from Green.
However, he brought post-defense, rebounding on both ends and physical play that the Bulls could use on both ends of the floor.
It’s no question the Bulls are short of frontcourt depth this season. With the losses of Markkanen, Daniel Theis and Thaddeus Young, just to name a few, the team’s roster got smaller, literally.
It’s evident in Patrick Williams’s role as the expected starting power forward this season that the Bulls lack height and post depth.
But, with players like Green stepping up to fill the needs of rebounding, post defense, and aggressiveness, the Bulls will be able to cover their own weaknesses.
Green used to be a supplemental player to a larger trade, but is becoming a valuable rotation player.
Green, 28, was a part of the Theis trade that brought the two to Chicago. Bulls fans most likely didn’t expect Green to be the one of those two to stick around this season.
Green played in just 16 games last season, averaging eight minutes per game in each of those contests.
He averaged 2.6 points and 1.2 rebounds per game. He shot around 45 percent from the field and scored just 41 total points for the team last year.
If one thing stood out about Green from his small sample size of playing time last season — it was his defense. Green carried a positive 3.2 defensive box plus/minus and a positive net rating on the floor, carried by his 107 defensive rating.
Green signed a two-year $3.5 million contract to stay with the Bulls for the next two years, which is proving to be another fantastic move by the Bulls front office from the offseason.