3 crucial weaknesses the Bulls addressed in free agency

Goran Dragic, Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Goran Dragic, Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
3 of 3
Andre Drummond, Chicago Bulls, 2022 NBA Free Agency
Andre Drummond, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

1. Rebounding, rebounding, and more rebounding

If last year’s MVP race didn’t already make it obvious enough, the days of the dominant big man being dinosaurs in today’s NBA have come and passed. It’s true, the dinosaurs have now returned armed with a whole host of new skills and ways to make opposing defenses pay for their negligence.

Superstars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, and Joel Embiid are leading their teams to top seeds and 50+ wins every season now, and if you don’t account for them, you’ll just become another bump on the road on their way to another deep playoff run.

The Bulls have particularly suffered due to the emergence of these dominant big men, largely due to Chicago’s complete and utter inability to rebound the basketball. Despite having an accomplished rebounding big like Vucevic as the starting center, the Bulls have rated terribly on the glass. Here’s a look at where they ranked among all 30 NBA teams last season.

  • Rebounds per game: 42.3 (28th)
  • Offensive Rebounds per game: 8.7 (29th)
  • Contested Rebounds per game: 13.4 (27th)

Insert Andre Drummond, the four-time rebounding champion himself. Drummond has a career average of 13.3 rebounds per game and even managed to reel in 9.3 boards per outing last season despite seeing the court for less than 20 minutes a night. Drummond was a very solid reserve big for both Philadelphia and Brooklyn last year, and the fact that both fanbases were sad to see him leave seems to indicate he can have a similar effect on the Bulls.

Fun fact, Drummond has nearly more total career rebounds (9,519) than he does points scored (9,938). Drummond is such an incredible rebounder, that if you only counted his offensive boards last season, he’d still have had the 5th most rebounds of any player on the Bulls.

He grabbed an NBA-best 26.2% of all possible rebounds when he was on the court last year, a rebounding rate that dwarfs the next two best rebounders on the Bulls in Tony Bradley (19.1%) and Vucevic (18.7%). The next best rebounder in the league was Rudy Gobert, who had the best rebounding season of his career and still didn’t come close to surpassing Drummond with a rebounding rate of 25%.

Now, Drummond does oftentimes leave a lot to be desired on the defensive end. He will never become the “rim protector” that the front office has been ceaselessly searching for. But there’s only so much you can expect from a player who’s signing deals near the veteran’s minimum, and what Drummond does do, he does very well.

Having Drummond around to play 18 to 20 minutes per night and available for specific situations will be a big asset for the Bulls moving forward. This is plenty of time for his strengths to shine through while not overplaying the big man and allowing his weaknesses to have a net negative impact on the court.

Bradley is a plus rebounder and will also be returning on his player option, while Marko Simonovic has said he’s packed on 25 pounds to his 6’11” frame and should hopefully be available to play spot minutes at power forward or center. All of this size in the interior is an asset the Chicago Bulls will likely be happy to have around as the 82-game season begins to take its toll on their bodies.

Unlike last year, however, I believe they’ll be able to weather the storm and save some of their energy for the playoffs.

Updated Chicago Bulls depth chart after free agency. dark. Next