NBA execs don’t believe Chicago Bulls can win Eastern Conference

Arturas Karnisovas, Marc Eversley, Chicago Bulls (Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)
Arturas Karnisovas, Marc Eversley, Chicago Bulls (Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports) /

It’s that time of year again, and the dreaded ESPN offseason survey has returned once again. Just one year after naming the Chicago Bulls’ sign-and-trade for DeMar DeRozan the worst move of the summer, ESPN is back once and again to deliver their “expert” opinions on the matter.

Fortunately, this time the Bulls avoided any “worst signing” or “worst offseason” monikers, as it’s hard to be too critical of any of the decisions Chicago made this offseason — if anything, I’d be critical of the decisions they didn’t make.

Still, that doesn’t mean ESPN’s offseason review of the Bulls was a positive one, as not a single member of their panel voted for Chicago to win the Eastern Conference in 2023. After losing in five games to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs, it’s easy to see why they’d feel that way. Still, it feels like shallow analysis given that the Chicago Bulls were atop the East for the majority of the 2021-22 season.

Not one member of ESPN’s panel of 15 executives, coaches, and scouts voted the Chicago Bulls as potential winners in the East.

Here’s how their voting for the early Eastern Conference favorite shook out.

  • 7 votes – Boston Celtics
  • 7 votes – Milwaukee Bucks
  • 1 vote – Miami Heat

Additionally, both Boston and Milwaukee tallied four votes each as favorites to win the 2023 NBA Finals. However, the LA Clippers appear to be the early favorites after receiving eight votes to win the West and five votes to win it all.

The idea that the East is little more than a three-horse race feels a bit ridiculous; even if you don’t believe the Chicago Bulls are contenders this season, dismissing the Raptors, Nets, Hawks, Cavaliers, and especially the 76ers before things have even gotten started seems foolish.

Granted, the Nets were overwhelmingly picked to win the East by ESPN’s panel last season, while the Lakers were predicted to win the West. As we know now, the Nets and Lakers would combine for fewer playoff game victories than even the Bulls, with a collective grand total of zero. The Celtics received zero votes to win the East, while the Warriors also gathered no votes to become NBA champions and only two votes to win the West.

For that reason, placing too much stock on these arbitrary surveys feels premature, as we’ve already seen how little they’re worth in the long run. The Bulls were voted to have made the worst offseason move just last season, but received no “worst offseason” votes this season despite running the same core back from 2021.

Chicago’s new front office is making the type of moves that silence critics and is putting this team in a position to win as many games as possible. I’ll take that over favorable reviews in a meaningless survey any day of the week.

Trading Vooch now would be huge mistake for Bulls. dark. Next