Bulls

Embarrassing loss to Bucks was a reminder of the issues this Bulls roster has

Fred Hoiberg doesn’t do angry well.

The Bulls coach rarely shows any temper, but that wasn’t the case after the embarrassing 116-82 preseason loss Wednesday in Milwaukee.

Hoiberg watched his starters sink into a selfish “I gotta get mine’’ offensive mentality while getting completely dissected on the defensive end and the glass.

“We lost [the rebound margin by 21], so that says it all,’’ Hoiberg said.

It definitely said something.

That’s why the originally scheduled light practice Thursday was discarded, replaced by an old-school, foot-on-the-gas-pedal practice even though it was the 10th day  of camp.

“Luckily it’s just preseason,’’ key reserve Bobby Portis said. “It doesn’t count on our record, but moving forward, we can use this as a lesson learned for the regular season, and not have games like this anymore.’’

Yes, Portis was 100 percent right — it didn’t count — but what it did show was just how much work the Bulls have left with the regular season less than two weeks away and an alarming list of concerns.

1. As bad as advertised. The Bulls defense was a worry even before the players stepped onto the floor of the Advocate Center for the start of camp.

In the preseason opener against the Pelicans it was tolerable, but against the Bucks, the new switch-heavy defense was exposed repeatedly and allowed 32 points in the first quarter and 31 in the second.

“You’ve got to communicate, you’ve got to talk,’’ said Hoiberg, who called the defense awful. “When we do that we’re pretty good. But we’ve got to find a way to fight through those adverse situations and we didn’t do that.’’

The coaches just started installing the nuts and bolts of the switch defense this week, so growing pains are to be expected.

“We tried it the other night against New Orleans and had some good possessions, some not so good,’’ Hoiberg said. “[Wednesday] they were getting behind us on the roll and our behind-the-switch defense needs to improve.’’

2. Veteran option? Will the real Jabari Parker please stand up?

That had to be on the minds of many at the practice facility Thursday. Parker was solid in the opener, scoring 15 points in 25 minutes while playing facilitator at the same time. Against the Bucks, things were much different.

Maybe it was the emotion of wanting to prove something to his former team, but Parker finished 1-for-12 for two points in 19 minutes and was a mess defensively.

“Another couple of games [left in the preseason],’’ Parker said. “I just got to make up and learn from it.’’

The concern when Parker was added was how he would mesh with his new teammates knowing there’s already a core of Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen. Very little has been answered on that front through two games.

RELATED
Bulls got a full dose of Giannis
Hoiberg still searching for right mix without Markkanen

3. Portis, and then who? Portis is going to get his, as evident once again in Milwaukee when the reserve put up 17 points on 7-for-15 shooting. But how much help will the Bulls bench be this season?

Cameron Payne is still inconsistent, rookie Wendell Carter has had a few moments, but rookie Chandler Hutchinson looked completely overwhelmed by the Bucks.

Once Denzel Valentine (ankle) gets back, there should be a bit more stability, but the depth of this roster is still unproven.