After spending the final couple of months of the 2019-2020 season in an Orlando bubble, the NBA begins preseason play. The league crowned the Los Angeles Lakers champions exactly two months ago and has seen a lot of changes since then.
Nine teams parted ways with their head coaches after the completion of the most recent season. Two those that found themselves out of a job quickly found new homes. Billy Donovan, late of the Oklahoma City Thunder, landed in Chicago to replace the fired Jim Boylen.
Chicago Bulls Betting Preview: New Coach, Same Lineup
The Bulls finished last season with a dismal 22-43 record and failed to make it to the bubble. Thus the departure of Boylen and the arrival of Donovan. The team also has a revamped front office. Everything seems to have changed except the lineup.
All of the major players from last season are still on board, with 89% of the scoring returning. The Bulls used a fourth overall draft selection to add Florida State forward Patrick Williams. They also added guard Garrett Temple, who averaged just over 10 points a game with Brooklyn in 2019-2020.
While at Oklahoma City, Donovan had a stellar reputation for getting the most out of what were mostly good, but not great rosters. He’ll need to do a lot of coaching up to take a team with a .338 winning percentage and get them into the respectable category.
Houston Rockets Betting Preview: New Organization, Same Dysfunction
Both Houston head coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey left the team. D’Antoni departed when his contract expired and Morey resigned due to personal reasons, but has since landed with the 76ers. The team is looking for a fresh start after dropping their Western Conference semifinal series to the Lakers.
That start began with the hiring of Stephen Silas to replace D’Anoni. Then they traded All-Star and former MVP Russell Westbrook to Washington for guard John Wall. Westbrook had been requesting a trade and the Rockets were eager to oblige him. Fellow guard James Harden has also reportedly requested to be traded and is embroiled in Covid-19 related controversy as he attempts to rejoin the team.
Silas is a longtime NBA assistant coach and the son of former head coach Paul Silas. The younger Silas was most recently an assistant to Rick Carlisle with the Dallas Mavericks. He’ll be under pressure to get the Rockets over the hump and into the NBA Finals in the near future.
Bulls vs. Rockets Betting Odds and Lines
MyBookie posts the Chicago Bulls as two-point favorites over visiting Houston. For preseason games, there are no money line of over/under bets available on the site.
Free Betting Pick
Both of these franchise are in the midst of turmoil and change, although the Bulls seemed to have done a better job at stabilizing the situation. Donovan is a proven head coach and should be able to get the team headed forward.
The Rockets are handing the reins over to someone with no head coaching experience. In addition, they have to deal with the Harden situation. It will be difficult to pull that all together and still be competitive on the road.
Spooky Express Free Pick: Chicago Bulls -2