The Chicago Bulls shocked the NBA world this summer by spending big and acquiring a collection of both starters and role players. This adds to the list of top players on the team alongside Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic. Plenty of eyes will be on the Bulls throughout the season to see if they can live up to hefty expectations now.
Chicago Bulls 2021-22 Season Preview
The 2020-21 Season
Last season wasn’t necessarily kind to the Bulls, although it wasn’t awful. LaVine showed out, per usual, when healthy. They acquired Vucevic at the trade deadline, but his impact on the team wasn’t fully felt as LaVine missed time. Chicago may have made the playoffs if LaVine stayed healthy towards the end, but that wasn’t the case.
They finished with a record of 31-41.
Outside of LaVine and Vucevic, rookie Patrick Williams looked very solid. His offensive game still needs work, but Williams is set to be a top defender for years to come. Chicago invested a top-five pick in Williams, so he’ll be watched with a magnifying glass. All trends are pointing upwards, however.
Chicago Bulls Offseason
The offseason was incredibly busy for the Bulls.
Lonzo Ball joined the team with Tomas Satoransky and Garrett Temple heading to New Orleans. Ball becomes the de-facto starting point guard. He’s a defensive menace, but also a fantastic playmaker and improved shooter. The eldest of the three Ball brothers, he has a new opportunity to potentially reach All-Star heights. This is a strong acquisition for Chicago.
After Ball’s arrival, Chicago brought in Alex Caruso. Caruso, coming from the Los Angeles Lakers, is a high-energy two-way guard. He’s constantly going to be one of the first names off the bench for the Bulls.
Then came DeMar DeRozan. The former San Antonio Spur arrives with a hefty price tag, but he adds to the team’s offense. DeRozan struggles on the defensive end, but almost always scores 20+ points per game.
Finally, Alize Johnson arrives from the Brooklyn Nets. Johnson is still unproven to a degree but can defend multiple positions when called upon.
Chicago looked for it all in playmaking, scoring, and defense. A lot of money was spent, but the team is ready once again for playoff contention.
Next Season’s Expectations
It’s playoffs or bust for Chicago now. They have three All-Star talents in their starting line-up, a rising star in Ball, and a top-five pick in Williams.
The bench contains plenty of excitement from Caruso, Jones Jr, and Coby White.
The Eastern Conference, however, does not present an easy road to the playoffs. There are a number of elite teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and Nets, growing teams like the Atlanta Hawks, and other teams that improved as well such as the New York Knicks and Miami Heat.
If healthy, though, Chicago has more than enough talent to make a playoff run. It remains to be seen, however, how the team fits. There’s only one ball and plenty of players who will demand it.
Time will tell if all of Chicago’s heavy investments were worth it.
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