The Chicago Bulls aren’t just built to win now, but for years to come

Javonte Green, Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Javonte Green, Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Common sense says a team stocked up with three All-Stars and a legitimate Sixth Man of the Year candidate would likely have pushed all of its chips into the table to contend for a championship. With all that talent, why wouldn’t you? The Chicago Bulls, however, are the rare team that perfectly straddles the line between playoff contention and youth development.

While the recently re-signed Zach LaVine looks to re-join star teammates DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic for another playoff push, this doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing gamble. Both DeRozan and Vucevic are on team-friendly deals that are set to expire in the near future.

Until then, Chicago will have a few chances to see just how capable this team is when fully healthy. Although they held the top seed in the Eastern Conference at the dawn of 2022, the Bulls still have to prove they can beat other top teams and make a real playoff push in 2023 and beyond.

Past that, the future may not be nearly as bleak as some critics would make it out to be.

Although the Chicago Bulls are built to win games and contend now, this team still has yet to even come close to reaching its full potential.

Even if DeRozan and Vucevic leave in free agency without bringing a banner to Chicago, the Bulls will still have a surprisingly solid core to build around. Lonzo Ball, Patrick Williams, Coby White, Ayo Dosunmu, and Dalen Terry are all 25 years or younger and can each be seen as valuable pieces when in the right situation.

Although the Chicago Bulls tanked for a half-decade under the guidance of infamous front office duo GarPax, new management has quickly amended their mistakes. In a poll of over 100 Bulls fans, an overwhelming 95.1% voted in favor of Chicago’s current young core over the one Chicago intentionally tanked for.

What’s particularly interesting here is the fact that the 2019 group has an average age of 21.4, while the 2022 young core is 22 years old on average. That’s hardly a discernable difference and proves that the current core should have just as much “potential” on paper, even if players like Dosunmu and Terry weren’t drafted as high as their 2019 counterparts.

Granted, there are question marks surrounding each of these players worth asking. Does Patrick Williams really have star potential? Can Lonzo Ball finally stay healthy for a full season? Is there still room for Ayo Dosunmu to grow, or is he a finished product? Will Dalen Terry meet his offensive potential to become a complete player?

I get the feeling we’ll find the answers to these questions (and plenty of others) very soon. But if even half of these questions can be answered with a “yes”, I feel very confident in Chicago’s chances at rebuilding its status as a perennial winner — something we fans haven’t been able to revel in since the days of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.

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