Bulls projected starting lineup and rotation heading into preseason

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls Rotation and Depth Chart 2023-24 (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls Rotation and Depth Chart 2023-24 (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

Although the Chicago Bulls haven’t found a way to bounce back to their level of play they achieved with Lonzo Ball manning the offense, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say this team has clearly managed to improve at the margins this summer. Jevon Carter and Torrey Craig will be welcome additions to the rotation, and will hopefully be enough to improve the NBA’s worst three-point shooting offense.

These signings prove the front office is acutely aware of what this team lacked last season, but it’s hard to envisioning a 40-42 team going all the way thanks to a few role players. If the Bulls are to truly return to relevance, they must not become complacent and should keep working to overhaul this roster.

Barring any further signings, trades, or unfortunate injuries, this is how the Chicago Bulls depth chart currently shakes out:

  • PG: Jevon Carter, Alex Caruso, Carlik Jones
  • SG: Zach LaVine, Coby White
  • SF: DeMar DeRozan, Ayo Dosunmu, Dalen Terry, Julian Phillips
  • PF: Patrick Williams, Torrey Craig
  • C: Nikola Vucevic, Andre Drummond

Although a depth chart can be a useful tool, Bulls head coach Billy Donovan seems to prefer employing small ball rotations that often go against the traditional positional archetypes we’re so used to. That’s why I believe it might be more beneficial to look at the rotation as a whole, and break things down according to who will actually see the most minutes on the court.

Projected Chicago Bulls starting lineup and rotation for the 2023-24 season

  1. Zach LaVine (starter)
  2. DeMar DeRozan (starter)
  3. Nikola Vucevic (starter)
  4. Patrick Williams (starter)
  5. Jevon Carter (starter)
  6. Coby White
  7. Alex Caruso
  8. Torrey Craig
  9. Andre Drummond
  10. Ayo Dosunmu
  11. Dalen Terry
  12. Julian Phillips
  13. Carlik Jones
  14. Adama Sanogo (two-way)
  15. Justin Lewis (two-way)
  16. Onuralp Bitim (two-way)
  17. Lonzo Ball (injured)

To no one’s surprise, the ‘Big 3’ of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic will be expected to lead the team in minutes once again. Meanwhile Patrick Williams will return as a starter with a slight chance for an increased workload, while the recently-signed Jevon Carter rounds out Chicago’s starting lineup.

The sixth man situation is particularly interest, as I believe Alex Caruso will be the first player off the bench most games to bring his defensive intensity to the court. Although I believe Caruso will be the first player off the bench, I’d bet Coby White actually sees the most minutes per game, as his offense off the bench will be much-needed whenever the Bulls stagger LaVine and DeRozan’s minutes. For this reason, it’s hard to say for sure who the Bulls’ Sixth Man truly is, but both players will be equally important next season.

After that, Andre Drummond and Torrey Craig have a clear route to minutes as the primary backup. I also expect the Bulls to employ Ayo Dosunmu and Caruso at the wing often to allow for dynamic three-guard lineups. Neither Dalen Terry or Julian Phillips look ready for a big role just yet, so this is probably for the best.

Of course, we can’t forget the Bulls still have an open roster space for a potential free agent signing. Undermanned at both the forward and center position, look for the Bulls to sign a flexible player that could log minutes at both positions. If this were to happen, Chicago could slide Craig up to small forward or continue playing small ball with this new signing at center. Whatever they decide to do, this thin rotation clearly needs some help if it wants to make a legitimate playoff run.

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