The start of the season was spelling out to be very troublesome for the Bulls. The team went 5-10 in the first 15 games of the season and all signs pointed to blowing the team up. The belief that sticking with the same core hasn't resulted in winning basketball for the Bulls. Ever since the devastating Lonzo Ball injury, the Bulls have been the epitome of mediocre.
The organization constructed this team with the idea that Lonzo would be head of the attack with offensive weapons, DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Nikola Vucevic, at his disposal. In their first year together, that proved to be true. Before he went down, the Bulls possessed a 27-13 record and were leading the East. Unfortunately, that was two years ago, and the East has improved since then. Milwaukee (26-12) is better with Dame leading the clutch, the Celtics (29-9) look unstoppable with Jrue Holiday serving his purpose, and the Sixers (23-13) have improved with Joel Embiid honing his skill and Maxey developing his.
Recent reports state that the pain in Ball's knee has subsided and he will resume running again. It's a very unlikely scenario that he plays this season, but it might not be off the table. He is ruled out for the season, but how he recovers from this point is unknown. He doesn't have a timetable for his return either, but knowing how management feels about this core, they'll be silent this year and just watch as the result of this season plays out.
As the season continues, the Bulls are rallying back from their poor start and are stringing together wins. They've shown the spirit to fight through adversity and their ability to bounce back from hardship. I believe they should maximize this season and justify their belief in this team's core. They should make a trade this season to improve their rank in the standings. This is their chance to show why this team truly does work together and that their internal growth is worth investing in.
The Bulls must keep their foot on the gas and continue making moves if they want to be playoff contenders in 2024.
Coby White has been playing like a front-runner for the Most Improved Player award by averaging, 18.5 points, 4.9 assists, and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 40% from the three-point line. In the last week, we won three out of four games and now stand at 19-22 and have them as the 9th seed in the East play-in picture this year. Highlights of their success include LaVine going for 25 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists, while White contributed 30 points and 8 assists in the win over the Rockets.
The team is finding their footing, but ultimately they need some help stopping the other team from scoring. They can lean on the scoring acumen of the core, but ultimately, the team cannot lean on Alex Caruso to try to slow down all the opposing team's best players. Waiting for Patrick Williams' development and Lonzo's return might be dangerous and isn't a sufficient plan going forward. The team works well together, but improvements should always be looked into.
Chicago needs a quality forward who is proven on both ends and can guard the forward/wing position physically. This would assist the teams' defensive scheme to reserve Vucevic to fulfill his true purpose of being an anchor in the post that players wouldn't normally be successful scoring on. He’s a huge deterrent at the post, but when you get him at the three-point line he’s pretty easy for a shifty guard to get by. He plays drop defense pretty well and with an addition to a forward that can handle their assignment and manage the space in between, it’ll all add up to a potent defense with multiple options to help slow down the opposing team's best scorers.
I believe that these four players I've highlighted in the following slides would help the Bulls in their playoff push and fulfill this essential role for Chicago.