Future looks bleak for Bulls in B/R’s 2026 NBA power rankings

DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

All things considered, the Chicago Bulls are a team that’s built to win now. On paper, this team should be racking up regular season wins and be a perennial threat to finish high in the Eastern Conference. The wins aren’t coming in, however, and the Bulls are most certainly not taken seriously as a contender at this point in time.

Unfortunately, the Bulls seem to be simultaneously botching any attempt to build for the future. After trading away prized prospects Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. for peanuts, this team no longer has a young core to raise the team’s ceiling in the future nor the star players to be a great team right now.

That’s why when Bleacher Report penned an article ranking each NBA team’s future prospects three years from now, I was admittedly a little hesitant to click on it. Here’s what B/R’s Andy Bailey had to say about the Chicago Bulls in the context of building NBA power rankings for the year 2026.

"Much of the Chicago Bulls’ cap sheet is occupied by Zach LaVine, 34-year-old DeMar DeRozan, soon-to-be-33-year-old Nikola Vučević and Lonzo Ball, who’s set to miss his second straight full season. An organizational tank job feels imminent, and the Bulls don’t really have any young prospects to lean on in that case."

The Bulls deserve their pitiful ranking in B/R’s 2026 NBA power rankings.

It’s hard to argue with Bailey here on these points. For these reasons, the Bulls ended up being placed 29th among all 30 NBA teams, only narrowly edging out the Wizards. Even then, a thorough tank job this season could see Washington shoot out ahead of Chicago very soon.

Despite having four consecutive picks in the upper half of the lottery from 2017 to 2020, Chicago still lacks a clear piece to build the team around. Bailey carried on to mention the Bulls’ only true path to redemption is through future drafts, one they’re unlikely to venture down with the roster they currently have, while also owing their 2025 first-round pick to the Spurs.

"Of course, they won’t give any of the aforementioned veterans to another team for free, but LaVine might the only one with good enough trade value to land a future star, and even that might be a stretch. That means Chicago will likely have to rely heavily on upcoming drafts to escape the bottom of the standings."

Chicago’s Central Division rivals fared much better, with the Pistons (23rd), Pacers (20th), Cavaliers (9th), and Bucks (3rd) all ranking out much higher on this list. Only the Celtics and Nuggets ranked higher than Milwaukee, while the Kings, Grizzlies, and Thunder also cracked the top 10 and are threatening to upset the league’s current hierarchy at the top.

The Bulls would be wise to take note of those three teams in particular, each of whom has taken their time with their respective rebuilds and reaped the rewards, unlike Chicago who jumped the gate far too early. De’Aaron Fox, Ja Morant, and Shai-Gilgeous Alexander have all proven they can be the central piece on great teams. Domantas Sabonis, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Chet Holmgren all appear to be perfect complementary big men to maximize the talents of their star guard.

The Bulls, on the other hand, lack either of these pieces. Perhaps we should take things back to the drawing board and rethink this roster’s construction before we waste even more time trying to start a car with a faulty engine.

Next. Could Bulls be a dark horse in Dame sweepstakes?. dark