The Chicago Bulls seem to be a bit complicated. After a great last offseason, adding crucial parts in DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso, that season’s success reflected that.
They turned into a playoff team, spending some time near the top of the Eastern Conference. Injuries to Ball, Caruso and Patrick Williams hampered the defense, leading to a first-round exit against the Milwaukee Bucks. However, the flashes were there. This offseason, Zach LaVine received his max contract extension, but the team didn’t do much other than that.
Chicago Bulls’ Current Odds
- To win the NBA championship +6000
- To win Eastern Conference +2800
- To win Central Division +550
- To make playoffs Yes -140/ No +110
Player to Watch
Keep in mind that LaVine, DeRozan and Ball (whenever he is healthy after knee surgery) are the backbone of this team. However, Nikola Vučević is on the outskirts of that conversation. If he’s playing well, it changes the dynamics of the Bulls.
There were times last season, when Vučević was playing at his best, so were the Bulls. He has the ability to be a screener, space the floor, create his own shot, be a solid passer and rebound.
The issue is Vučević would go through stretches where he struggled offensively, and the rest of his game suffered accordingly, specifically at the start of the season. If Vučević has consistency, especially with Ball expected to miss time, that might go a long way with the Bulls.
- Player to Watch: C Nikola Vučević
Injuries slowed the Bulls last season, and the one to Ball might have the worst effect. He was arguably the team’s best defender, made threes and offered a playmaking ability that few have. It’s still unclear about a timetable regarding a return, so the Bulls need to fill his role.
Enter Ayo Dosunmu, who had 40 starts as a rookie. He ended the season as part of the All-Rookie Team (8.8 points, 3.3 assists, 27.4 minutes per game). He shot 38% on three-pointers on 2.4 attempts per game.
Dosunmu may be a starter at the outset of the season. It will be his job to maintain that role. He’s been a solid defender, but his offense needs to find some consistency, especially as a playmaker. That may happen with the natural progression into this season.
- Breakout Watch: G Ayo Dosunmu
Chicago Bulls’ Outlook
Do not forget that the Chicago Bulls were back last season as a legit playoff contender. They spent much of their time as the first and second seed in the Eastern Conference until March. Then, injuries occurred, Chicago dropping to sixth, before losing to the defending champions Bucks in the opening round.
The injuries don’t seem to be leaving, but Caruso and Williams are healthy. LaVine struggled with injuries late in the season, causing his play to diminish.
If the Bulls can stay healthy, DeRozan perhaps improving off last season, they may be a scary team. There was a chance to finish as a top four seed, and that could again be the case.