The good, bad, and ugly of the Chicago Bulls’ 2018-19 season

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

LaVine Blossoming into a Star

When the Bulls first acquired Zach LaVine in the trade that sent Jimmy Butler to Minnesota, LaVine was seen as an inferior player to other rumored trade target Andrew Wiggins. Two seasons later, that prior assessment seems laughable.

Averaging a stellar 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.5 assists, LaVine is posting career highs all across the board. As his confidence has improved, so has his play. Bouncing back from a torn-ACL, many were doubtful he’d ever be able to live up to the potential teams saw in him when he was selected in the 2014 Draft lottery.

LaVine has since silenced his critics, however, soaring to career bests in PER, Box Plus/Minus (BPM), and Value over Replacement Player (VoRP). If the budding star can keep up his torrential pace, LaVine may just be able to add an All-Star selection to his accolades, right next to his pair of NBA Dunk Contest titles.

Diamonds in the Rough

Last season, Ryan Arcidiacono was barely a member of the Bulls’ roster, bouncing back and forth between the G League and NBA on a two-way contract. Shaq Harrison and Wayne Selden weren’t even on the team. But together, this band of misfits has collectively found their place in the NBA here on the Chicago Bulls.

After going undrafted in 2016, Arcidiacono was signed and subsequently cut by the Spurs. He spent nearly an entire year unclaimed as a free agent until the Bulls gave him a chance to earn his way into the league with a two-way contract in 2017.

Last year, Shaq Harrison was barely surviving in the league, receiving multiple 10-day contracts from the Suns, until they cut him just 23 games into the season. On the Bulls, he’s fought hard to earn his place in the league and now leads the NBA in steals per 100 possessions.

Wayne Selden was seen as just a throw-in to get the Justin Holiday to Memphis deal completed. Many expected him to be waived by the Bulls, yet somehow he’s arguably been just as good as Holiday was. Selden has scored in the double digits a dozen times while coming off the bench.

Although it’s still unclear if the Bulls will decide to retain all three, the fact that the matter is even up for discussion is a huge positive sign. Discovering these hidden gems bodes well for a front office that will be forced to find cheap talent if the rebuild process is successful and the Bulls wish to legitimately contend.