3 Lessons Bulls must learn to avoid repeating dreadful 2023 season

Billy Donovan, Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Billy Donovan, Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls
Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

2. Embrace the return of the conventional “Big Man”

The Golden State Warriors dynasty led many to believe that the era of size dominance had ended in the NBA and the future was small-ball. If the last season has proved anything, it’s that the “big man” is just as valuable as ever to team success.

Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid stood tall (figuratively and literally) against all other MVP candidates this year, and their dominance on the court was palpable. With Jokic leading the Denver Nuggets to their very first NBA Championship over the undersized Miami Heat, it became all but clear that having an effective big man on the roster can still be a vital, and sometimes unstoppable, recipe for victory.

While Nikola Vucevic has a strong skillset in the NBA, he does not fit the bill as a traditional “big man”. He seems to lack the drive to get his back to the basket regularly and bully his way into easy baskets when they present themselves. Furthermore, his defense leaves plenty to be desired. Vuc had the 48th-best Defensive Box Plus/Minus according to Basketball Reference, placing his defensive impact behind centers like Mason Plumlee and Kelly Olynyk.

If Chicago is to reach a level where they can consistently pump out quality teams year after year, it may be worth looking into investing in a younger option on the low block. We’ve already seen other teams find success with strategy as players like Nic Claxton, Walker Kessler, Onyeka Okongwu, and Jalen Duren have proven to be very valuable assets thus far.