The Chicago Bulls had six representatives in Bleacher Report’s Top 200 NBA Player list for the 2016-17 season. Who ranked the highest and lowest for the Bulls on the list?
It’s no secret that the Chicago Bulls are one of — if not — the weirdest team in the NBA heading into the 2016-17 season next month.
Not many teams had the overhaul that the Bulls had this summer in trading away Derrick Rose and Justin Holiday, letting Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol walk, and signing Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade to join Jimmy Butler as the “Three Alphas” (trademark of that goes to Rondo).
According to Bleacher Report NBA columnist Adam Fromal’s personal rankings, Rondo, Wade and Butler are three of the six representatives for the Bulls inside his top 200 players this season.
So, I took a glance at his list and looked at what he said for each player on the list.
199. Doug McDermott
Fromal’s analysis of McDermott:
"It’s no longer difficult to view Doug McDermott as a legitimate NBA player with significant upside, especially now that the defensive concerns have dwindled a bit. He’ll never be a two-way stud, but his spectacular shooting paid dividends during his sophomore season, and he’s getting more comfortable with the nuances of off-ball offense."
Personally, he’s right with the latter. McDermott does look like a legit offensive option for the Bulls heading into his third season.
Defensively, the concerns haven’t “dwindled” at all. He’s atrocious on the defensive end and it’s not by a lack of effort. McDermott does try on the defensive end. He’s just not quick enough to guard many guys at his position and finds himself lost on that end more often than not.
176. Bobby Portis
Here’s what Fromal said on Portis:
"The Chicago Bulls should be thrilled about what they’ve found in Bobby Portis. He thrived as an all-around defender during his rookie season (so long as he wasn’t the last line on the interior), held his own on the boards and showed flashes of modern offensive excellence. As he gains jump-shooting consistency, he should establish himself as a franchise centerpiece capable of contributing in almost every way imaginable."
This is accurate. Portis can become a two-way weapon for the Bulls in the future. His interior defense isn’t where it needs to be, but that could change over time. He’s got the length and versatility to become a really good defender in the NBA.
115. Rajon Rondo
Fromal on Rondo:
"Rajon Rondo may be the NBA’s most unique player at this stage of his career, especially now that his improving jumper belies a reputation that defenders can sag off. He’s a talented passer with great rebounding vision and defensive instincts, but he still chases assists at the expense of making proper plays, and his defense is often uninspired, which prevents him from realizing the full extent of his enduring potential."
Look, Rondo is still a good player. Injuries and his attitude have basically knocked him off the path of becoming a truly great player of this era, but he’s proven to be quite a cancerous player as of late. He can’t really shoot and he’s nowhere the defender he used to be, so of course the Bulls looked to sign him.
71. Robin Lopez
Fromal said this:
"All it takes to summarize Robin Lopez’s increasing value is this: Along with Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon, he was sent to the Chicago Bulls this offseason for Justin Holiday and Derrick Rose. (Joakim Noah also traveled between the Bulls and Knicks, though he did so by signing a free-agent deal.) Lopez was rather easily the best involved."
This is 100 percent correct. Lopez is easily the best player involved with all of these guys at the current point in their careers. Rose isn’t the 2011 version of himself, Noah’s injuries are derailing his career lately, Grant is still unproven and Calderon might not have much basketball left to play.
The Bulls got a good player and person in one of the Lopez twins.
23. Dwyane Wade
Fromal on Wade entering this season:
"At some point, you can’t keep referring to a player as “vintage.” Once it seems like every game is turning back the clocks, maybe it’s because they’re permanently turned back. Such was the case for Dwyane Wade, who was even better in the playoffs after spending the regular season dominating on offense and producing spurts of capable defense. He’s no longer an MVP candidate, but he keeps making his team—now, shockingly, the Chicago Bulls—a lot better."
This might not have anything to do with anything, but how is Dwyane Wade a Chicago Bull now? It still doesn’t add up that Wade is no longer a member of the Heat and torching the Bulls any chance he gets. The Rondo signing was as nutty as can be, but this one blew that out of the water.
Fromal went into much more detail of Butler — as he did with the rest of his top 20 players on the list — and you can take a look at that here.
Personally, it’s a bit surprising that Nikola Mirotic didn’t make this list. Mirotic still has plenty of question marks with his game plus missing a chunk of the season with two surgical procedures, but it’s surprising that he missed the cut and McDermott made it. They each do things better than the other, but Mirotic would appear to be the better player.