Summer league, free agency, and trades indicate that the Chicago Bulls are ready to compete with their young core. Cap space reveals that the Bulls will likely go into 2021 free agency with the intention to sign a max player. What will the Bulls rotation look like until 2021, and what is the potential of the current rotation?
Zach LaVine – 35 minutes per game
It is a little scary having LaVine lead the team in minutes because of his injury history. LaVine has missed 112 games in the last three seasons -- nearly half of them. That stat is a little front-loaded, however, as LaVine did play 63 games last season, averaging a total of 34.5 minutes. Look to see his climb to stardom continue this year by suiting up for the most minutes of all the young Bulls.
Lauri Markkanen – 33 minutes per game
Markkanen missed a couple months of basketball last season with an elbow injury, only playing in 52 games. In those games, though, he was a workhorse, averaging 32.3 minutes a contest. If Markkanen is healthy from the beginning of the season, he should play right around those 33 minutes per game, and assuming he signs an extension, Markkanen will likely be a Bulls cornerstone moving forward. Having averaged 18.7 ppg and 9.0 rpg as a 21 year old sophomore, with legit three-point range, Markkanen has prototype stretch-four potential.
Wendell Carter Jr. – 32 minutes per game
Completing the trifecta of players returning from injury, Carter Jr. should come back from his abdomen surgery healthy for the ‘19-20 season. If Carter Jr. is healthy, he is an excellent complement to Markkanen, and the two will have every opportunity to grow together into a long-term frontcourt solution in Chicago. Remarkably, Markkanen and Carter Jr. together aren’t as old as Vince Carter. If Wendell continues his development, the Bulls frontcourt future is bright.
Otto Porter Jr. – 32 minutes per game
Porter played phenomenally well after being traded to the Bulls. In his 15 games, he shot 48.8% from behind the arc, over 90% at the free throw line, and scored 17.5 points a game. Perhaps more importantly, though, he played defense. This attribute of his game will play a huge role in the team’s success, as he can play alongside anyone on the roster and can guard opposing wings. Look for Porter to be the third offensive option behind LaVine and Markkanen.
Tomas Satoransky – 30 minutes per game
Satoransky should get most, if not all, of the PG starts for the Bulls. He is a good shooter (39.5 3pt%), a good passer (5.0 ast/ 1.5 TO), and is a big guard (6’7” 210lbs.). Satoransky is a combo guard that pairs well with a ball-dominant player like LaVine. He can also take the best opposing guard defensively to take pressure off LaVine. Satoransky is the clear favorite to take most of the minutes as the lead guard.
Thaddeus Young – 24 minutes per game
Young will be the sixth man for the Bulls. Coming into his 13th NBA season, Young brings a much-needed veteran presence to the team, and having spent the last nine years as a starter, will be ready to log heavy minutes if need be. Young should come off the bench to play in the frontcourt and some on the wing. Expect him to bounce around and fit into a multitude of Bulls lineups.
Kris Dunn – 20 minutes per game
Dunn is a solid back-up point guard. After playing 30 minutes per game last year, his role will certainly be lessened in the coming season, after the Bulls not only invested their first round pick in point guard Coby White, but also a chunk of their FA dollars in Satoransky. The front office clearly doubts his ability as a starter, but as a backup he will thrive. Look for Boylen to mix-up the backcourt quite a bit in the first-half of the season.
Daniel Gafford – 18 minutes per game
It would be great to see Gafford play a majority of the back-up minutes in the post. He looked solid in Summer League and has a natural feel for the game. Gafford is ready for NBA minutes because of his speed and ability to stay in good position. He will likely make mistakes like any rookie, but he will contribute and develop.
Coby White – 16 minutes per game
Coby was the Bulls first-round pick and can play either position in the backcourt. He needs minutes on the court to develop his playmaking and adjust to the NBA 3-point line, but his future is bright; there were many who thought the Bulls got a steal at #7, and that White went behind players he was superior to. White had some holes in Summer League but after a full training camp, he should look better. White has potential, but Bulls fans should expect mere glimpses in year one. If White is starting, the strong likelihood is that something has gone very wrong, rather than very right.