Washington Wizards 2019-20 Season Preview: Chicago Bulls

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Will a couple of former Washington Wizards get some revenge on their former team?

Washington Wizards record vs Chicago Bulls last season: 1-3

Chicago Added: Luke Kornet, Tomas Satoransky, Coby White, Thaddeus Young

Chicago Lost: Justin Holiday, Robin Lopez

If you include John Wall, the Wizards are bringing back just six players from last season’s roster. The Chicago Bulls aren’t that far behind with two former Wizards of their own.

One former Wizard, Otto Porter, isn’t quite a new addition. He was sent to Chicago at the trade deadline last season but was only able to play in one of the teams’ three matchups after joining his new squad. The Wizards now have nothing to show for that trade and Porter looks to be an integral part of a young Chicago team.

Former Wizard Tomas Satoransky will spend his first season outside of Washington this year, but at least he’ll have a friendly face in Porter to share a locker room with. As a member of the Bulls, Satoransky should get the point guard opportunities he never really got in Washington. Despite three years of solid play for the Wizards, it seemed like things had run their course with Satoransky. He wanted a bigger role, and he felt he had earned that. The Wizards just weren’t giving him that, and certainly not for the price Chicago was willing to pay. They never matched Chicago’s offer.

Satoransky will certainly get some opportunities but he could be looking over his shoulder before long. First-round draft pick Coby White is a blur of a point guard that can score in any number of ways. He has a little John Wall n him, actually, and he’s waiting just behind Sato. If he picks up the NBA game quickly, Satoransky could find himself fighting for a starting spot in his new city. And don’t forget Kris Dunn. He’s still around, too.

Of course, the Bulls will only go as far as Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen can take them. The two are the core of this Chicago Bulls rebuild. Lavine, still just 24 years old, had a quietly impressive last season, posting career highs in points (23.7), assist (4.5), rebounds (4.7), steals (1.0), blocks (0.4), and field goal percentage (0.467). His three-point percentage of 0.374 wasn’t too bad, either. If he can continue this progression as the go-to guy in Chicago, we could see some epic duels between him and Beal this season.

Markkanen — not Lavine — could be the one that presents real matchup problems for the Wizards. At 7’0″, Markannen can be a factor inside, as evidenced by his 9.0 rebounds per game last season. However, he also has the range to stretch the defense. He attempted over six three-pointers per game last season, more than any other member of the current Bulls roster. He made 36 percent of them. Markkanen’s a bit too big for power forwards. He has a few inches on both Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura. But he’d be a nightmare on the perimeter for Thomas Bryant. Pick your poison.

Wizards to Watch

Beal and LaVine are bound to have one shooting guard shootout this season. Satoransky and Porter revenge games will be fun to watch if only for the narratives. But Thomas Bryant will be the real Wizard to watch whenever the Bulls come to town.

While Bryant was a surprise fan favorite in DC last year, Chicago has a young center of their own that wowed in his rookie season. With his rookie year now behind him, the Bulls are expecting big things from Wendell Carter.

Carter played in only one game against the Wizards last season, but it was a memorable one. 17 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks. Their averages from last season are almost identical across the board, but Bryant’s much more efficient around rim and from behind the arc.

This battle of the big men should be a fun one. Who said the center position is dead?!

2019-20 Game Predictions

Wednesday, December 18 in Washington

Tomas Satoransky revenge game. Book it. Wizards take the L and Wizards Twitter is alive with revisionist history about how we should’ve kept Sato for $10 Million a year.

Wednesday, January 15 in Chicago

I’ve mentioned a couple of times how we’re in for a Beal vs LaVine showdown at least once this season. I think it happens in January, and I’ll take my chances with Beal against anybody. Wizards win.

Washington Wizards 2019-20 Season Preview: Miami Heat. dark. Next

Tuesday, February 11 in Washington

This one is the last of a six-game home stretch for the Wizards. Here’s to ending things on a good note and getting another win against the Bulls.

Sunday, February 23 in Chicago

It’s the first game of a back to back. It’s on the road. It’s past the trade deadline. Who knows what this team will look like by then. It doesn’t really matter though. They’ll lose this one.