What to Expect From the Bulls for the Rest of the Season and Beyond.
Courtesy of NBA.com
After throttling the Celtics at home, the Chicago Bulls are picking up steam. The team is now 4-2 since acquiring 25-year-old Otto Porter Jr. He joins an exciting young core led by Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen.
With an ability to initiate their own offense and a respectable shot from three, LaVine, Markkanen, and Porter give the Bulls some bite. Chicago has quickly built a modern offense centered on these three. Moving forward, the Bulls will look to win games down the stretch rather than tank.
The Bulls have one of the most loyal fan bases in the NBA, and have high attendance numbers despite the losing season. The Chicago front office can celebrate and tempt fans moving forward by showcasing the club’s bright future as the season comes to a close. Saturday night’s performance against the Celtics is just the beginning, and a welcome advertising tool for season ticket renewals and free agents alike.
Coaching and Personnel Considerations.
When Jim Boylen became head coach mid-way through the season, he brought three areas of focus:
defensive rebounding, transition defense, and offensive execution. After a tumultuous first few weeks, it seems the team has bought into Boylen’s vision.
Otto Porter Jr. and fellow mid-season acquisition Wayne Selden help solidify this new brand of Bulls basketball. These players help spread the floor and move the ball. These moves suggest Boylen will be the coach for the foreseeable future in Chicago.
As such, there is now a blueprint for the type of player the Bulls will target moving forward. Likewise, current Bulls like Kris Dunn, Robin Lopez, and Wendell Carter Jr. are awkward fits within this new paradigm and could be on their way out. Lopez struggles to go up and down the floor in transition and Carter’s rebounding has disappointed. Dunn has been inconsistent this year
It will be interesting to see what the Bulls decide to do with these talented assets. To double-down on roster intrigue, the Bulls will likely have a top lottery pick this spring.
Despite the team’s exciting future, the Bulls have very much so been tanking this season. Because the lottery odds have changed, and the bottom three teams will each have a 14 percent chance at the No. 1 pick, the Bulls are still well within the mix for a player like Zion Williamson.
At the same time, Chicago’s trades and improved play threaten to pull the club out of the running for the top selection. The Bulls may, however, be in the running for players like Cam Reddish (Duke G/F) or Ja Morant (Murray State PG).
Cam Reddish would fit the position-less basketball model, and can spread out to floor. Reddish would a great selection for what Boylen is trying to accomplish on both ends of the floor, and could allow the Bulls to start Markkanen at center. Markkanen might thrive at the five; he stands at 7 foot and is already lead the team in rebounding. Reddish would give the Bulls endless options, and fits the best into what the Bulls want to do with their young-core.
Morant, meanwhile, offers reliable perimeter shooting. Although Morant isn’t quite the perfect fit, he has more potential than anyone else in the draft outside of Zion Williamson. At just 6’3”, Morant has an incredible 42” vertical. He’s a long and athletic point guard, who paired with Zach LaVine, would make for an imposing backcourt.
Regardless of who they take in the draft, any top five pick is going to have a lot of potential with this young Bulls team.
Stats from BasketballReference.com