Why the Chicago Bulls’ future is brighter than it may seem

Patrick Williams, Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images,)
Patrick Williams, Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images,) /

The Chicago Bulls have gotten off to a rocky 2-2 start of the season, after a relatively easy schedule that includes games against the Thunder, Raptors, and Pistons. They were inches away from being 1-3, but were saved in overtime against Toronto thanks to a brilliant pass from Zach LaVine and a beautiful three-point shot by Alex Caruso.

Worse, the Bulls couldn’t even capitalize on a Zach LaVine career high 51 points against the Pistons, a team that finished with the worst record in the league last year. The Bulls have already had their first players-only meeting and it only took one game to warrant calling such a meeting.

And yet, I can’t help but feel some hope for the future of this team.

Do the Bulls look like a great team at the moment? No. But that is what makes me excited. The Bulls front office my finally feel confident in making some big trades and clearing a path for future success. It is difficult in the current NBA to take a mediocre team and make them great. There are far more opportunities to take a bad team and make them great.

The Bulls are in a bad spot for now, but have the tools necessary to dig themselves out of this hole.

For instance, look at the OKC Thunder and the Atlanta Hawks as examples. The Thunder were willing to gut their team, trade their all-stars, and build from the ground up when they realized they weren’t in a position to win. If you look at the Thunder today, they are one of the most exciting young teams in the league and are well on their way to becoming a great team as they age into their prime.

The Hawks, on the other hand, are looking as bad now as they have in the last handful of seasons. With the exception of their 41 win season in the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season, the Hawks have not played themselves any higher than the 7th seed coming into the playoffs. Despite continuing to make minor changes to the roster to find the right approach, Atlanta failed to improve and progress up the Eastern Conference standings.

If the Bulls can take the approach of teams like the Thunder, Rockets, or most recently, the Trail Blazers, they may well be on the way to finding themselves competitive in the medium to long-term future. If, however, the front office cannot bring themselves to part with DeRozan, Vucevic, and LaVine, and hit the reset button, then we are in for a long season with very little light at the end of the tunnel.

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