Keep: Zach LaVine
At the beginning of the season, Zach LaVine struggled to completely recover from his knee injury and had a slow start to the year. However, he finished the season on a tear. In the 22 games he played after the all-star break, Zach averaged 27 points and 4.7 assists per game on 53.2/39.4/87.8 shooting. LaVine was able to score the ball efficiently, and that led to a 13-9 record for the Bulls to finish the season. LaVine rode this strong play to average 24.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 4.2 APG on 60.7 TS%, which is 73rd percentile among guards, which is impressive considering his high shooting volume.
This is the first time that we are seeing a team where Zach LaVine can be the top dog while having a good enough supporting cast that his play can translate to wins. The narrative that he is not a winning player has been a symptom of his situation, but the Bulls are at a turning point where they can actually build around him as he enters the prime of his career. With his play toward the end of the season, he showed that he is a max player and he needs to stay with the team even if the front office decides to shake things up.
Leave: DeMar DeRozan
This may be one of the tougher decisions with the lineup, as whatever happens with DeMar DeRozan will undoubtedly be the indicator of which direction the Bulls are choosing to go. However, it is becoming clear that DeMar’s play style does not fit well with the rest of the roster.
With DeRozan as the focal point of the offense, the Bulls tend to play at a slower pace and go in the half-court set. They tend to rely on his contested midrange jumpers, which are not advised statistically. Oftentimes, Chicago has struggled whenever DeRozan can’t get his shot to fall, as they have relied on him too much and the way he plays is only beneficial when he is surrounded by shooters, which is not the case.
DeMar is going to be 34 years old this upcoming season, and it is clear that he should be going to a contender, as he could be beneficial for a team that needs that one extra piece. Additionally, he has had some of the best seasons of his career with the Bulls, and that should generate some solid trade value when he goes to market. If Chicago can get some good, young players and draft capital from a trade, it could move the franchise in a more positive direction. This is not to say that the Chicago Bulls should go into a full rebuild, but they should allow their younger players to develop and play around one another.
Overall, the Chicago Bulls franchise and fanbase were disappointed by the results of the lottery on Tuesday, but the front office needs to move on to the offseason. The Bulls have shown that they currently are not made to be contenders, which means that some moves need to be made in free agency and through trades.