This week, ESPN released its record predictions (paid content) for the 2021-22 regular season for teams in the Eastern Conference, including the Chicago Bulls. And the Bulls were not included in the group that most would project them to finish in next season.
These ESPN record predictions for the looming regular season were actually a much more pessimistic outlook for this team than at least 95 percent of other outlets. Head coach Billy Donovan and the Bulls should be able to have a floor of 42 or 43 wins, in a bad scenario, next season.
This piece predicted the Bulls to finish up the regular season with a record of 40-42, which would put the team in position to contend for a spot in the play-in tournament. That record of 40-42 also puts the Bulls with the same win percentage as the likes of the Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Hornets.
It is clear ahead of the start of Training Camp and the preseason that the Bulls do have more talent on the roster than both the Pacers and Hornets. The bench for the Bulls is also pretty deep heading into next season. And even if this roster can gel together decently well at the outset of the regular season, this team should very likely finish ahead of the Pacers and Hornets in the standings.
ESPN continues to doubt Billy Donovan and the Chicago Bulls heading into next season
Here’s a key point that by the ESPN NBA insiders that put together these record predictions, specifically pertaining to the Bulls’ outlook heading into next season.
"While on paper their offense could be formidable, the Bulls have to prove they can mesh as a team and form a defensive identity if they want to make a playoff push."
Multiple people at ESPN have doubted the Bulls greatly since the front office made this large group of significant moves this offseason to bolster the roster and try to win now. It is up to Donovan and the Bulls to prove the doubters wrong next season as the preseason approaches.
Last season, the Bulls finished up with a record of 31-41 and just missed out on the play-in tournament. Thus, the preseason drought extended to four years. But getting into the postseason should be the bare minimum expectation for the Bulls in 2022.
Donovan and the Bulls are set to open up Training Camp on Sep. 28, in exactly two weeks. And then, the preseason slate tips off on Oct. 5 at home at the United Center against Lauri Markkanen and the Cleveland Cavaliers.