The Chicago Bulls were on a steady roller coaster ride this season. Excitement? A given. Thrill? A certainty. Amusement? A probability. A winning atmosphere of guys that bring the fuel and fire night and night out? Priceless.
What this Bulls team and organization have established has been nothing but pure joy for the entire city of Chicago, as well as the fans around the world who bleed the red and black. Each player has bought into the program and system, and the glory and fame were set on the Bulls the first half of the season because of each player’s relentlessness to come out on top, perform to the best of their abilities, and give it their all until the final buzzer.
This 2021-2022 season was filled with a variety of emotions, ups and downs, as well as roadblocks. However, there is one thing that remained the same: each team member rose to the occasion and played solid team basketball every night. The talent level of this team is stacked, and there are guys who can do a little bit of everything and provide versatility. Our leading scorer and 2022 MVP finalist DeMar DeRozan was absolutely stunning this season. He averaged 27.9 PPG and threw in some assists, rebounds, and steals each game. Zach LaVine has done some wonderful things since his arrival in the Windy City, and had a remarkable All-Star season. He averaged 24.4 PPG and was the team’s most explosive player. Nikola Vucevic was a big presence on the inside and proved that he could easily roll with DeRozan and LaVine on a nightly basis. He averaged 17.6 PPG and was the most durable player on the roster.
Lonzo Ball spent the second half of the season on the bench due to an injury, but was an electric point guard the first half of the season. His ability to dish out dimes while also putting the ball in the net was spectacular to watch, not to mention his ferocity on the defensive end. Coby White was a solid role player who has started to carve out a role for himself. He averaged 12.7 PPG and ran the offense at times as well. Alex Caruso is a fierce playmaker and sees the floor better almost better than anyone in the game. He was impactful on both ends of the floor despite his statistics not jumping off the page. Patrick Williams provided a spark fairly often despite missing most of the season with a wrist injury. This is another guy with incredible potential and upside.
The Bulls finished with a record of 46-36 and placed sixth in the Eastern Conference. They advanced to the Eastern Conference playoffs and faced the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. But they fell in five games because injuries plagued this Bulls team, especially down the stretch after the All-Star break. While that’s certainly a reason to be upset, there was a large window of time when the Bulls were first and second in the Eastern Conference, so it’s very evident they can be a winning team (and contender!) if they put all the pieces together.
It’s unfortunate to learn that LaVine will be an unrestricted free agent beginning July 1. He’s done a lot for this organization and fans would hate to see him leave. LaVine will also be undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery next week.
With the NBA Draft Combine just recently concluding, there are a lot of uplifting vibes within the Bulls organization. A ton of visible talent was seen and identified, and they have the opportunity to pick up and select a guy with enormous skill and overall ability. The NBA Draft is right around the corner on Thursday, June 23. The Bulls get the 18th pick in the first round, which will either help them add more young talent or package that pick in a trade for another established player.
Despite this year’s disappointing finish, the Bulls are a steady squad filled with loads of skill, talent and athleticism, contributing to a promising core should everyone remain. With the guys they have returning and others recovering from injury, the Bulls have a chance to show their ceiling once again in 2022-2023 just like they did for the first half of this year.
Their success was no mistake, and now they’ve learned what’s needed should certain players miss time, they should be better prepared to weather potential storms when next season arrives.