Basketball

Are the Bulls Back to Relevancy?

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The Bulls had one of this biggest offseasons in the league this summer. A little over a year removed from the GarPax era the Bulls are finally exciting again. With a roster overhaul Chicago looks to try and get back into the playoffs for the first time in half a decade and possibly even make a run at the title.

The New Guys

The Bulls won’t look familiar to any fan who hasn’t followed them since the end of last season when they step on the court less than a month from now. With only six players off last year’s team returning, Chicago was very active during free agency picking up seven guys through trades and free agency along with signing two rookies who look to make their NBA debut in the red and black this season. These names include:

A Winning Culture

A big question Bulls nay-sayers question is the culture, and after the GarPax era I can’t blame them. We saw this slowly change over the course of last season but a lot of these guys have never seen much success in the league.

Zach LaVine has never made the playoffs, and people question his ability to be the number one guy. Vucevic hasn’t been on too many teams over .500 in his decade long career. DeRozan didn’t exactly have the most successful stint in San Antonio even though he lead Toronto in a few playoff runs before the trade.

A lot of these guys who’ve seen individual success are together now under a coach in Billy Donovan who has a great track record for doing something with nothing. I feel it doesn’t need to be said but this roster is far from nothing.

Just look at the 2019-2020 Thunder for an example, nobody expected that hodgepodge of various guys to do anything but they found a way into the playoffs.

Last year’s Bulls team was far from being the most talented as well and baring the team becoming injury riddled down the stretch I believe we would’ve seen the Bulls taking part in the play in tournament last season.

This team is the most talented Donovan’s had since his early OKC days and that’s what gives me the confidence to say that the Bulls will be more competitive than what people think.

Rotation

I think everyone knows who the starting 5 is. The question lies more in how Donovan is going to stack the team up behind them, and we could see a lot of different units being tried out especially early in the season.

Starters:

PG: Lonzo Ball

SG: Zach LaVine

SF: DeMar DeRozan

PF: Patrick Williams

C: Nikola Vucevic

Second unit:

PG: Alex Caruso

SG: Coby White

SF: Derrick Jones Jr./Troy Brown Jr.

PF: Alize Johnson/Stanley Johnson

C: Tony Bradley

Nothing set in stone, especially at the forward position in the second unit. I think all of these guys are interchangeable Besides Jones. They’re all really athletic threes and stretch fours so you could see a lot of different pairings there.

Dosunmu and Simonovic could also sneak their way into that second unit as well down the stretch depending on what Donovan sees in the rookies. Caruso and White can both play the one and the two so they’ll likely be paired in both ways at some point.

It’ll be interesting to see how training camp and the preseason plays out as I feel that’s going to be a big factor.

Predictions

It’s okay to be positive but realistic about the coming season. This team has a lot of new names this year and despite the significant influx of talent there’s going to be growing pains.

I can see the Bulls floating around .500 the first half of the season but that’s no reason to panic. I see the Bulls being one of the hottest teams in the league down the stretch after the all star break. 45 to 55 wins and a finish anywhere from a 4 to 6 seed is a safe prediction.

This is going to be one of the most entertaining teams in the league to watch. They’re going to run and score often it’s just a question of how quick these guys gel as to where they’re at come playoff time as there’s no doubt they’ll be there.


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