• Tyler Yates

Ranking the Bulls' Young Core

The Chicago Bulls rebuilding phase has thus far been a successful one, driven in part by its core of solid young players. This group has finally come to life after acquiring Otto Porter Jr. in February.

After some time of evaluating this young core, lets rank how they stack up to one another.

In order to evaluate each player equally, they will be broken down into three categories: current production, potential production, and team fit.

5. Kris Dunn, 24, PG

Via Chicago Tribune

Current Production: B

Kris Dunn has a well-rounded game, but has not yet proven to be elite in any one area. The main concern with Dunn is his consistency. Dunn had 17 assists, 16 points, and only 2 turnovers against the Pacers earlier this year, yet two weeks later Dunn had 6 turnovers and 0 assists against a less imposing Nets team.

Dunn has proven to have the potential to play at a high level, but has yet to do it consistently. Still, he is currently averaging a respectable 6.0 assists a game.

Potential Production: B

Dunn is 24 years old, and has been in the league for three years. Each year he has increased his three-point percentage and has shown potential for improvement in the future. His best attribute is his ability to pass the ball and run the floor.

Team Fit: C

Chicago vice president of operations John Paxson has said the Bulls are still “evaluating” Dunn. Dunn has promise for the future, but only time will tell if that future will be with the Bulls or not.

Dunn needs the ball in his hands in order to distribute and this disrupts Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen’s rhythm. The Bulls have been tied to Murray State’s Ja Morant. Morant also plays point guard, and if drafted he would certainly force Dunn out.

Overall Grade: B-

4. Wendell Carter Jr, 19, C

Via Sporting News

Current Production: B

Wendell Carter Jr. was the Bulls’ 2018 first-round-pick, an athletic big man with quick feet. He has proven to be efficient in the pick-and-roll, and has shown promising passing ability. Carter doesn’t jump off the page in any one category but his speed and athleticism is what the Bulls are looking for at the center position.

Potential Production: B+

Carter is only 19 years old and already has the ability to put up a double-double against any team. However, Carter has been out for the last 17 games due to thumb surgery he had back in January. It is unlikely he will return for the rest of the season which prevents him from getting any playing time with newly added Porter.

When Carter returns to action, he will have to adjust to playing with OPJ. Luckily it hasn’t been hard incorporating Porter into the Bulls lineup, and Carter should get a full offseason to make the transition.

Team Fit: B

Carter’s athleticism creates flexibility on defense and he’s a rather sneaky option on offense. With so much obvious scoring prowess elsewhere on the court, it is easy to forget about Carter. Carter has shown passing ability which allows him to give-and-go with anyone on the team. Carter can also transition well on both ends of the floor – which was a big focus of new head coach Jim Boylen.

Overall: B

3. Otto Porter Jr, 25, SF.

Via Heavy.com

Current Production: A-

Since coming to the Bulls from the Wizards, Porter has averaged 18.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 47.5 percent from three-point range. His defensive abilities has been a welcome and inspiring improvement for this young Bulls team.

Potential Production: B+

It is tough to look at Otto Porter Jr. as a young player because he has been in the league for six years but with his potential soring in his first 12 games as a Bull, it is safe to say he still has space to grow. At 25 years old, Porter could still have over 10 years of basketball left.

With all of that being said, Porter has been in the league for a while, and hasn’t hit this level before. It is hard to get too caught up in one 12-game stretch, capping his grade at a B+.

Team Fit: B+

Porter can be a leader on this team going forward. He hasn’t shown that he can be the best player on the team, but a veteran on the starting five with some postseason experience has the ability to lead the team mentally and emotionally.

Overall: B+

2. Lauri Markkanen, 21, PF.

Via SportingNews

Current Production: A-

Markkanen is a true 7-footer with the ability to shoot from anywhere on the court. He can run the pick-and-roll, he can play in the low and high post, he can create his own shot, and he can drive to the basket.

Markkanen is an incredible offensive player, and is only in his second NBA season. Markkanen has also taken on a bigger rebounding role this year, averaging 9.3 a game.

Potential Production: A-

Markkanen needs to improve on his defensive-game. Standing at seven feet, Markkanen should be averaging more than 0.6 blocks per contest. He is too slow on his feet to switch on smaller players and doesn’t seem to have the ability to be helpful on the perimeter.

However, he is only 21 years old and has all the offensive potential in the world. The good certainly outweighs the bad here, but the concerns should be noted.

Team Fit: A

Markkanen has the ability to stay calm in all phases of the game. That will prove to be beneficial as the Bulls hope to be in the playoffs next year. Markkanen has improved in all areas of his game and will be a cornerstone for the Bulls in the next couple of years. Any team can use a stretch forward like Markkanen and it’s no surprise that he fits with LaVine well.

Overall: A-

1. Zach LaVine, 23, SG.

Via SportingNews

Current Production: A

Zach LaVine has been the go-to-guy for the Bulls. He is averaging 23.8 points a game while shooting an impressive 46.8 percent from the field. LaVine has made big shots down the stretch of multiple games, and has improved across the board in this his second year in Chicago.

Potential Production: A

LaVine has five years of experience in the NBA which will help him lead the Bulls youngsters. His star power is growing by the day, and moving forward he will be Chicago’s most talented and high-profile player.

Team Fit: A-

LaVine has yet to impose himself defensively, but with Jim Boylen taking over as head coach, this off-season will have more of a defensive focused compared to Fred Hoiberg’s system. It will be interesting to watch LaVine mold with the coaching change, but no matter what he is equipped to lead this team. With LaVine at the helm, the future is bright in Chicago.

Overall: A

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