As the Chicago Bulls stumble into their final stretch of games in the 2022-23 season, the future looks quite bleak. Neither the playoffs nor a top-four position in the draft lottery looks particularly realistic as of now, so this team is left hoping for a stroke of luck or perhaps divine intervention to tilt the scales in their favor.
There are clearly several problems regarding the way this roster is currently constructed, so hopefully we fans get a few answers from the front office after the season has finally concluded. Allow me to step into the shoes of Arturas Karnisovas for but a moment as we attempt to remedy the ailments plaguing this team.
Here’s a potentially possible and definitely way-too-early projection of what the Chicago Bulls’ 2023-24 starting lineup may look like.
The Chicago Bulls starting lineup in 2023-24 could (and should) look radically different than what we saw this season.
Point Guard: Mike Conley
Obviously, the Bulls are hoping Lonzo Ball can return next season to re-assume point guard duties. I’m skeptical he’ll be ready for that by then — or if he’ll ever even be able to play in the NBA again — but even if he is, it would be foolish to expect Ball to be ready to go full-speed right from the start. For that reason, the front office would be wise to begin searching for alternatives.
Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu have both proven to be capable of stepping up into the role for limited periods of time, but I think we’ve seen enough of both by now to know that neither is a true starting point guard yet. Both players are more effective off the bench and the Bulls should strive to keep it that way next season.
That means this team’s best option is to find a plus playmaker and shooter to run the point in either free agency or via trade. Finding an upgrade on the trade market is perfectly doable (Delon Wright, anyone?), but proposing anything right now would just be wild speculation on my part, so we’ll turn to the free agents we know will be hitting the open market this offseason.
I propose the Bulls sign Mike Conley to a one-year deal, who I believe would make for a perfect Lonzo Ball stop-gap. He’s shot 39.8% from beyond the arc over the last three seasons and is currently 10th in the NBA in assists per game. Conley also has a wealth of experience playing alongside star guards Donovan Mitchell and Anthony Edwards, so the fit next to LaVine should be rather seamless. Conley will be 36 years old by the start of next season, so I can see his age deterring some suitors. But for a Bulls team that’s only looking for someone to buy time for Lonzo, I think this is a non-issue.