Chicago are still a year or two away from truly being in the playoff picture in the East, but they’re on the right track.
With their third #7 pick in just as many years, the Bulls made a great choice in Coby White. A high energy point guard that has the potential to be a great spot up shooter next to Zach LaVine in the Bulls’ backcourt.
With the departure of Robin Lopez, Wendell Carter Jr. will be presented with many more opportunities to shine(assuming he stays healthy this year) and the addition of Thad Young gives Lauri Markkanen a great mentor and gives the locker room a veteran presence for such a young roster.
Ultimately, the Bulls are set up to be good, just not this year.
2018-19 Regular Season Record: 22-60
2018-19 Regular Season Standing: 4th in Central Division, 13th in Eastern Conference
2018-19 Playoff Result: N/A
Notable Additions: Thaddeus Young, Coby White, Tomas Satoransky
Notable Losses: Robin Lopez
2019-20 Predicted Regular Season Record: 25-57
2019-20 Predicted Regular Season Standing: 3rd in Division, 10th in Eastern Conference
2019-20 Predicted Playoff Result: N/A
Their Best Player
Right now, Zach LaVine holds the title of the Chicago’s top ball player. The 23ppg scorer from last season will hopefully get even better this year. With some solid players surrounding him, he will spearhead an offense that will be very entertaining to watch.
After coming back from an ACL injury, his athleticism seems to be on the same level as it was pre-injury. His explosive first dribble is as deadly as it was before, and his shooting stroke – despite being streaky at times – is very solid, averaging almost 2 threes a game.
On the other side of the ball is a very different story. LaVine is a liability on defence.
The key for the Bulls is to try and surround him with as much defensive help as possible, because he can give up just as many points as he scores every game. With a frontcourt of Markkenan, Carter Jr. and Young, the Bulls look to be in safer defensive hands.
LaVine, for the moment at least, is the offensive talent that ties the Bulls roster together. Able to create shots for others with his isolation game means that everyone else on the roster should see some easy shots while he toys with opposition defences.
Their ‘Golden Nugget’ Player
Chicago have a plethora of young players that you can choose from for this title.
Markkenan, Carter Jr., Porter Jr. and White are some very obvious picks for this title, but I’ve decided to focus on their third string point guard in Ryan Arcidiacono.
Arcidiacono seemed like the ultimate ‘fill-in’ player, playing a lot of minutes last season when the Bulls’ backcourt players seemed to all be going to down with injuries.
A strong shooter with great offensive instincts allows Arcidiacono to come in to any game and have an immediate impact. His off-ball movements and his ability to zip around and through defences makes him a dangerous asset for the Chicago roster.
After inking a new deal with the bulls over the offseason, Arcidiacono will be eager to make his presence felt in such a crowded guard slot. If his defence improves, and under Jim Boylen I’m sure that it will, this will free him up to play alongside LaVine more and more. LaVine and Arcidiacono can be quite a dangerous combo for opposing defences, it will be interesting to see how Chicago utilise him this season.
After Fred Hoiberg’s reign as Chicago’s head coach finally came to an end this past season, Jim Boylen was promoted to the role and signed on as head coach for the next 3 years.
Although the Chicago front office have great faith in Boylen, a big part of offering his extension was to give the team some continuity at the head coach position.
During Hoiberg’s tenure, rumours continuously circulated about the Bulls wanting to move on from Fred. Now that they have finally moved on, Boylen’s extension, in my opinion, was more so to help the young players develop a strong connection with a coach with no uncertainty about the future of the position.
Despite this, Boylen has constructed a decent coaching staff to help him, most notably being the addition of assistant coach Chris Fleming, the ex-Nets assistant coach. Boylen is front lining a modern and fast-paced offense to fit the needs of his young roster.
Whilst the play styling may fit, I am still sceptical about Boylen’s ability to make the same in-game adjustments as a lot of other Eastern Conference coaches, namely Brad Stevens, Mike Budenholzer and Nick Nurse.
This season will be a growing year for Chicago, and not just for the players.
Chicago will be a ‘League Pass’ team. Entertaining to watch, but without the results to back it up.
They are in good hands though, with great moves from the front offices last season which included palming off Jabari Parker to the Wizards for Otto Porter Jr. in return.
The future looks bright in Chicago.