The Chicago Bulls were a modern-day dynasty during the 1990s. That group won six titles in eight seasons. And although the Derrick Rose-led teams never reached the NBA mountaintop, those squads were perennial playoff contenders.
The three biggest questions facing the Chicago Bulls as they prepare for the 2021-22 NBA season.
Fast forward to today, though, and the narrative is a bit different. Sure, the Bulls did manage to sneak into the postseason back in 2017. Since that time, the team has failed to make it to the postseason in each of the last four seasons.
Not only that, but the Bulls’ highest win total during that span was 31, which occurred last season. Fear not Bulls fans, the new-look front office has been very active during the offseason. Given the fact that this team will have a noticeably different look, here are the three biggest questions facing the Bulls as they prepare to embark upon the 2021-22 NBA season.
3. Will this be the last hurrah for the Bulls and Zach LaVine?
When the Bulls acquired Zach Lavine in 2017, he was coming off an ACL injury that kept him away from the court for 11 months. Furthermore, he played in just 24 games during that season when he did return. However, since that season, LaVine has increased his scoring output in every season, including a career-best 27.4 points per game in 2020-21.
Additionally, Lavine shot a career-best 41.9 percent from the 3-point line. He also posted a career-best 4.9 assists per contest as well. Simply put, he has been everything that the Bulls had hoped he would be and then some. Based on the numbers, conventional wisdom says that the Bulls will be willing to pony up to retain him beyond next season.
2. Will the marquee offseason acquisitions be a good fit on this Bulls roster?
As I mentioned earlier, the Bulls have been active during this offseason. The most notable acquisitions were Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan — who both arrived in the Windy City via sign-and-trade deals, and they added Alex Caruso to the mix as well. Ball is coming off a season in which he averaged career-highs in points (14.6), shooting percentage (41.4), and 3-point shooting (37.8 percent).
Meanwhile, as is the case with LaVine and Vucevic, DeRozan is an established scorer in his own right. Case in point, he has averaged at least 20 points per contest in every season since 2013-14. With that being said, the Bulls have yet another player that is pretty good at putting the ball in the basket. And as far as Caruso is concerned, while his game is not overly flashy, he is a good defender, which means he will be an integral part of the team’s second unit. All in all, these players should be a good fit, but as the saying goes, you still have to play the games.
1. Can the Chicago Bulls end their playoff drought?
To be perfectly honest, this is a difficult question to answer. Even the most die-hard Bulls fans will concede that much. One of the positives of the current front-office regime is that mediocrity is not acceptable. For example, they acquired Nikola Vucevic at the trade deadline last season. Let’s also not forget the moves they’ve made during this offseason.
Secondly, the collection of talent they have acquired was no small feat, either. Sure, no player on the roster is in the same stratosphere as Kevin Durant, LeBron James, or Stephen Curry. However, on paper, this is maybe one of the best rosters the Bulls organization has assembled in quite some time. Yes, it will take time for this roster to find its footing, but don’t be surprised if the Bulls manage to nab one of the last two playoff spots in what appears to be a wide-open Eastern Conference.
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