Evaluating the Chicago Bulls' season
Hello Bulls fans,
The Chicago Bulls have just one more game left in what will go down as an interesting season with a lot of ups and downs. I think there are a lot of positive things to walk away with and to grow from for the players. It has been drama filled from the very start to the finish, and speaking of finish, how about Lauri Markkanen, who became the first Chicago rookie since Elton Brand to hit 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a season. Lauri joins an exclusive list with Michael Jordan, Elton Brand, and Dave Greenwood as the only Chicago Bulls rookies to accomplish such a feat.
Lauri accomplished all of this while at the same time missing fifteen games this season. It’s very impressive stuff for the 7ft rookie out of Finland. I have no doubt that he will grow into an all-star caliber player for the Chicago Bulls for a long time to come. In order for this team to take the next step in the upcoming season someone has to establish themselves as the alpha dog on the team. I’m on the record saying Kris Dunn has the personality to demand the basketball and make this happen, but Lauri Markkanen is the most skilled player on the roster with the most upside.
There are some serviceable bench players on the roster in Bobby Portis, Denzel Valentine, and David Nwaba. Portis has really stepped his game up when given the opportunity this season. He has shown the ability to make plays in the post and to get the energy up for others around him. Valentine is an okay outside shot maker with a fluky looking floater he’s been hitting. He was drafted fairly high and hasn’t shown much potential to start but he’s been trying harder on the defensive side of the ball. I would have to personally say David Nwaba is my favorite out of the three players. He just plays with the kind of passion coaches and scouts love. He’s willing to get dirty in a way most of these soft players don’t these days. I also like how aggressive he is going to the basket. He is more likely than not going to dunk the basketball.
A very glaring issue with this roster is the frontcourt depth. The Bulls got Omer Asik in the Niko Mirotic trade, but that was obviously just a salary dump off for New Orleans. Markkanen is the solid starter at power forward but I would like more athleticism at the center position. Robin Lopez is serviceable but I don’t think he’s what the Bulls need to be starting along side Lauri at this time. I was hoping the tank would go a lot better and Chicago could pair Lauri Markkanen with Deandre Ayton or Marvin Bagley III. I’ve seen mock drafts with these players going in all kinds of different spots in the top seven picks so we will have to see how the lottery shapes up.
Justin Holiday isn’t remotely close to being the answer at the small forward position for the Chicago Bulls. He’s a player that jacks up contested shots without any regard for the offense. He’s a bench player who is getting starter minutes because of lack of depth on the roster. This roster issue can be addressed in the draft or in free agency. If not this summer then I’m sure next draft the Bulls will be looking to find a long-term solution at this position.
The Chicago Bulls are at a very good place this coming offseason. With possession of two first round picks, cap space, and young talented players on the roster they can draw in more talent. I believe that Chicago is an underrated free agency destination because there is a clear direction they are heading in. Within a year or two Chicago can be back in position to competing in the playoffs.