2021-22 Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls are looking to bounce back this season. After some big offseason moves, the Bulls are looking to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2017, where they lost in the first round, and ended the season at .500. Adding Demar Derozan, Lonzo Ball, and Nikola Vucevic through free agency and trades. They team those three up with their all-star guard Zach Lavine in hopes of getting back to the postseason.
New Starting Five
PG: Lonzo Ball, SG: Zach Lavine, SF: Demar Derozan, PF: Patrick Williams, C: Nikola Vucevic. This lineup seems like it will be extremely consistent barring injuries. This is their most talented group of 5 players.
The addition of Lonzo gives them a true playmaking point guard, rather than someone like Coby White who is better suited as a shooting guard. Lonzo is not the star people thought he would be when he was drafted 2nd overall. He is an extremely talented passer, and he fits perfectly with high fliers.
That brings me to Zach Lavine and Demar Derozan. Zach Lavine was a first time all-star in the 2020-2021 season. He put up 27/5/5, on 50% from the field, and 41% from three point range, while taking 8 threes a game. He has evolved from an uber athletic dunker, to an all around scoring machine. Lavine has continued to improve throughout his career, and he now has two all-star teammates, one being Demar Derozan. Derozan is not the superstar he was in Toronto, once scoring 27 a night, he is down to 21, and has been steadily declining. Derozan is still a solid defender, but the game has passed him by offensively. His inability, and lack of volume shooting from three point range limits his game a little. The NBA is very heavily driven by analytics and the three point shot. But Derozan is still a very talented player. He was the first option in his time with the Spurs. He will now be the second option behind Lavine. Both Lavine and Derozan will benefit from Lonzo Ball’s playmaking ability, and their athletic ability is for sure going to lead to a lot of highlights coming out of Chicago.
Patrick Williams and Nikola Vucevic will be holding down the front court for the Bulls in the upcoming season. A seasoned vet and a two time all-star in Vuc, and then the second year player coming off of an all-rookie season. Williams’ start to the season is up in the air due to an ankle sprain, but the Bulls fully expect him back on the court early in the season.
Williams is not an elite scorer, but he is a do it all guy, he put up 9 points and 4.5 rebounds a game. His numbers don’t jump out at you, but you see his impact on the court. Vucevic is set to make a huge impact for this Chicago Bulls team. A big that can spread the floor will benefit greatly from Ball’s playmaking, but also Lavine and Derozan’s ability to drive to the hoop and kick the ball out. He should get a lot of easy looks, unlike in Orlando where defenses could key in on him. He shot 38% from three on just under 6 attempts per game last season. I would imagine the percentages rise to the low 40’s while he probably stays around the same amount of attempts.
Potential Bench Rotation
The bench is this Chicago Bulls teams weakness. They have some solid pieces in Coby White, Derrick Jones Jr., Stanley Johnson, Alex Caruso. Coby White is healing from shoulder surgery and should be back playing fairly early in the season. White is most likely to be the leading scorer off the bench, he put up 15 points a game last season. Derrick Jones Jr. is a solid player but he is not a scorer, same with Stanley Johnson, and Caruso. Their biggest flaw this upcoming season is going to be bench scoring. They are going to be heavily reliant on their starting five to be putting up the majority of their scoring.
The Chicago Bulls are going to be a borderline playoff team, looking at the rest of the eastern conference, (Bucks, Nets, 76ers, Celtics, Heat, Raptors) the Bulls should end up in anywhere from the 6 to the 8 seed in the Eastern conference playoffs. Their offseason additions were very good, but they are still lacking the star power of some of the other teams in the East.
Regardless of where they finish their season, this team will be extremely exciting to watch and every fan should be paying attention to them. Lavine and Derozan are highlight machines at the rim, Lonzo is a great passer, and the young Coby White and Patrick Williams will look to give the team a boost with their youth. If this Chicago Bulls team makes the playoffs, they could be a really fun team to watch.
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