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Chicago Bulls Betting Outlook
Eastern Conference Odds: +14000
Preseason NBA Championship Odds: +2000
The Bulls made few moves in the offseason other than hiring coach Billy Donovan. The team is hoping that its youthful roster, led by 25-year-old Zach LaVine, 23-year-old Lauri Markkanen, 21-year-old Wendell Carter Jr., and 20-year-old Coby White, can gel under Donovan’s tutelage.
The team does need to try to get some stability. There is certainly some hope that the young players can grow into a solid squad, though the hopes of being a playoff team are probably a year or two away.
Bulls 2020-2021 Predictions
Regular-Season Record: 18-54
Conference Standing: 14th
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Chicago Bulls Team Leaders
Zach LaVine has led the Bulls in scoring for the last two seasons and is one of the better shooting guards in the league. His highlight dunks have been incorporated with solid outside shooting to make him one of the tougher players to guard in the league. LaVine is also solid defensively, averaging 1.5 steals a season ago, and he does try to get teammates involved, as shown by his 4.2 assists in 2019-20.
The hope is that second-year point guard Coby White can become more of a leader.White only started one game in his rookie campaign but finished as the third-leading scorer on the team (13.2 points per game). The North Carolina product came on at the end of the Bulls’ season, scoring at least 19 points in his last nine games, including five games of 26 or more points.
Chicago Bulls Injuries
Chicago Bulls Team History
The Chicago Bulls were created as an expansion NBA franchise in 1966 and posted a 33-48 record in their inaugural season in 1966-67, the best finish by an expansion team in NBA history. The team qualified for the playoffs in its inaugural campaign, the only NBA team to do so in its first season.
The team made the postseason eight times in its first nine seasons under coaches Red Kerr (two seasons) and Dick Motta.The Bulls were led by a nucleus led by Norm Van Lier, Jerry Sloan, Chet Walker and Bob Love, advancing to the Western Conference finals in both 1974 and 1975.
The team fell to just 24 wins in 1975-76, leading to the firing of Motta, and the team made the postseason just two times over the next eight seasons. A 27-55 record in 1983-84 under coach Kevin Loughery gave Chicago the No. 3 pick in the 1984 draft and changed the franchise forever.
Chicago selected Michael Jordan from North Carolina with the No. 3 pick, and he made an immediate impact, helping the team make the postseason in his first year and winning the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award.
The 1986 playoffs saw the Bulls swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round, but Jordan set an NBA single-game playoff scoring record with 63 points in a Game 2 loss. After another first-round sweep by the Celtics, Chicago had another significant draft in 1987, selecting Olden Polynice at No. 8 and trading his rights to Seattle for the rights to forward Scottie Pippen.
The Bulls also selected forward Horace Grant at No. 10, giving the team two of their main building blocks for the future.
In 1988, the Bulls won their first playoff series since 1981 under second-year head coach Doug Collins, upsetting the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jordan’s last-second shot in the deciding Game 5. Winning that series advanced Chicago to a meeting with the Detroit Pistons, the first of four straight seasons the teams would meet in the postseason.
The Bulls advanced to the Eastern Conference finals in 1989, losing to Detroit in six games, and following the season, they let Collins go and named Phil Jackson as head coach. The team won 55 games in Jackson’s first season and again advanced to the Eastern Conference finals, falling to Detroit in seven games.
The 1990-91 season was a season of firsts for the Bulls, as they won over 60 regular-season games for the first time, finishing 61-21 to win the Central Division. Chicago also met the Pistons in the conference finals for the third straight season, but this time, the Bulls swept the two-time defending NBA champions to advance to their first NBA Finals.
In the Finals, Chicago faced the Los Angeles Lakers. After dropping Game 1 at home, the Bulls swept the next four games for their first NBA title. Jordan was named the Finals MVP.
The next season, Chicago again set a team record for wins in the regular season, finishing 67-15. Jordan won his second straight NBA MVP award, and the Bulls again advanced to the NBA Finals, beating the Portland Trail Blazers in six games to win their second straight NBA title. Jordan was again named the Finals MVP.
The Bulls made a third straight appearance in the NBA Finals in 1993, defeating the Phoenix Suns in six games for their third consecutive NBA title. Jordan was named the Finals MVP once again, but late in the offseason, he announced his retirement from basketball.
Jordan went on to pursue a baseball career with the Chicago White Sox, but the Bulls continued to be title contenders, with Pippen moving into a starring role. Pippen won the All-Star Game MVP and helped the Bulls advance to the second round of the playoffs.
Chicago was again in playoff contention in 1994-95 when Jordan decided to return with 17 games remaining in the regular season. He ended up averaging 26.9 points in those games, and the Bulls advanced to the second round of the playoffs, where they lost to the Orlando Magic in six games.
The Bulls made a big move in the offseason, trading for forward Dennis Rodman, who had formerly tormented the team as a member of the Detroit Pistons. Rodman and his flamboyant personality came with defense and rebounding at the power forward position, just what the team needed.
Chicago set an NBA record by going 72-10 in the regular season, the first NBA team to win 70 games.The team was nearly as dominant in the playoffs, losing just one game in its first three series before defeating the Seattle SuperSonics in the NBA Finals in six games for its fourth NBA title.
The Bulls continued their dominance over the next two seasons, advancing to the NBA Finals and facing the Utah Jazz each time. Chicago won each series in six games, putting together another “three-peat.”
Unfortunately, there was discord between the team’s coaches and players and the front office due to the fact that Jackson wasn’t going to be retained as head coach after the season.
Despite winning six NBA titles in eight years, the Bulls decided to dismantle the team, with Jackson’s contract not being renewed, Jordan deciding to retire again, Rodman not being re-signed, and Pippen, Steve Kerr and Luc Longley all being traded away.
Predictably, under new head coach Tim Floyd, the Bulls sank into the depths of the standings, ending up with the No. 1 pick in the 1999 NBA Draft after finishing 13-37 in the lockout-shortened season. Chicago selected Duke’s Elton Brand, but it didn’t help the team, as the Bulls endured six straight seasons of coming up short of the playoffs.
Scott Skiles became head coach midway through the 2003-04 season, and he led the Bulls back to the playoffs the next year, starting a string of three straight postseason appearances. But when Skiles and the Bulls got off to a 9-16 start in 2007-08, he was let go.
That season led to another appearance in the NBA lottery, with the Bulls winning the No. 1 overall pick, which they used on Memphis guard Derrick Rose. The team hired Vinny Del Negro as head coach and advanced to the postseason the next two years, though Chicago was only 41-41 in the regular season each year.
Prior to the 2010-11 season, Del Negro was let go, and Tom Thibodeau was named head coach. Things clicked for the team, as the Bulls went 62-20 to win the Central Division, Rose was named the league’s MVP, and they advanced to the Eastern Conference finals, where they lost to the Miami Heat.
Chicago won the Central Division again in 2011-12, but disaster struck in the first round of the playoffs, with Rose tearing his ACL, which sidelined him the rest of the postseason as well as the entire 2012-13 season. The team continued to make playoff appearances, with players like Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler emerging as leaders, but could never get the same level of success.
Thibodeau was let go after the 2014-15 season, with Butler, Rose and Noah all traded away in ensuing years. The team made the playoffs just once after Thibodeau’s departure, led by veteran pickups Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade, but the team was eliminated in the first round.
Heading into the 2019-20 campaign, Chicago had missed the playoffs two straight seasons and hadn’t won a playoff series since the 2015 postseason.
Nine players that have played for the Bulls are in the Hall of Fame, including Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, Walker and Artis Gilmore. Three head coaches (Jackson, Sloan and Slick Leonard) and long-time general manager Jerry Krause have also been inducted into the Hall.
The Bulls were hoping for growth from their young players and more consistency with Jim Boylen starting his first full season as head coach. Unfortunately, none of that helped the team’s results in the win-loss columns, as the Bulls didn’t have a winning streak until they won two straight in early December, putting them at 8-14 on the campaign. In fact, Chicago won two straight games just three times all season and never won three straight.
The Bulls dropped 13 of 16 games and were 22-43 when the NBA season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. Because of their low spot in the standings, the team wasn’t invited to participate in the restart of the season in the Orlando bubble. The team made significant changes in the offseason, firing long-time general manager Gar Forman and Boylen. The team hired Arturas Karnisovas as executive vice president of basketball operations, Marc Eversley as general manager and Billy Donovan as head coach.
Billy Donovan has had great success as a head coach.The former player for Providence and the New York Knicks, Donovan has two college national championships on his resume as well as playoff appearances in each of his five seasons as an NBA head coach.
Donovan helped the Friars to the Final Four under Rick Pitino as a player, then played part of one season under Pitino with the Knicks.Pitino then brought Donovan into his first coaching job when Pitino was with the Kentucky Wildcats, as Donovan rose from graduate assistant to the top assistant for the team. His first head coaching job was with Marshall, where he went 35-20 over two seasons.
That stint led to Donovan’s hiring at Florida in 1996. The Gators advanced to the Final Four in 2000, falling to Michigan State in the national title game, then got back in 2006 and 2007, with the team winning the national title both seasons. Donovan flirted with the NBA, getting as far as signing a contract with the Orlando Magic to become their coach in 2007, but he changed his mind and was released from the deal so he could return to continue to coach the Gators.
After 18 seasons at Florida, including 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, Donovan decided to move to the NBA, taking the Oklahoma City Thunder head coaching job prior to the 2015-16 season. In Donovan’s first season with the Thunder, the team advanced to the Western Conference finals but lost to the Golden State Warriors.
Oklahoma City continued to make the postseason each year, despite the departures of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, but after five years with the team, Donovan and the Thunder mutually decided to part ways. Just two weeks later, he was named the Bulls head coach.
Garrett Temple, guard, Brooklyn Nets
Billy Donovan, coach
Kris Dunn, guard, Atlanta Hawks
Shaquille Harrison, guard, Utah Jazz
Jim Boylen, coach
Devon Dotson, guard, Kansas
Patrick Williams, forward, Florida State
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