Chicago Bulls 2022-23 Season Preview

Zach Lavine

Last offseason, the Chicago Bulls added DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso to their roster. This led to a huge improvement. They made the playoffs for the last time since 2017 but lost in the first round. Chicago was actually at the top of the Eastern Conference before several injuries put an early stop to their sudden success.

Now, the Bulls are hoping to stay healthy for the 2022-23 season and replicate some of last season’s success.

 

Chicago Bulls 2022-23 Season Preview

Injuries and Lonzo Ball’s return

Lonzo Ball and Patrick Williams both missed significant time due to injuries. Getting both of them back but especially Ball, will be crucial to a successful season. Ball suffered from a torn meniscus and only played 35 games last season. Currently, he is still feeling some discomfort in his knee and will most probably miss the beginning of the regular season.

This delayed return causes several problems for the Bulls. First of all, it will be difficult for the team to find their rhythm again when he returns later in the season. This might be especially challenging because it has been such a long time since he was available.

Secondly, Ball is the team’s primary playmaker who provided for his All-Star teammates Zach LaVine, DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic. He is also their best three-point shooter. Without him on the court too much weight to carry the offense rests on LaVine and DeRozan. DeRozan will have to become involved in the playmaking and distributing again while Ball is out. The reason for this is that there is no one player on the roster who can replicate exactly what Lonzo Ball did for the Bulls.

Goran Dragić, whom the Bulls acquired this offseason, is probably the best option to fill in for Ball. He might not be able to replace him, but he should at least be able to replicate some of the playmaking Ball offered the team. Dragić is already 36 years old, however, and will not be able to play entire games.

Other options to fill the point guard spot are Caruso, Coby White, Ayo Dosunmu, and Dalen Terry, none of which do quite what Ball does. Caruso will probably find himself as the starting point guard but he is more of a defensive anchor for the team than an offensive force. White, on the other hand, is a capable scorer but has to up his assist numbers.

Dosunmu has lots of potential but is more of an athletic wing player than a true point guard. He will be one of the more exciting young players to watch next season, though. Dosunmu was a second-round pick in 2021 and exceeded expectations in his rookie season. He made the All-Rookie Second Team and impressed with his high basketball IQ and great defense. In the future, he might be a member of the All-Defense team. In the upcoming season, he will continue to improve and hopefully feel ready to take on more responsibilities.

The third option to play some minutes at the point guard position is Dalen Terry, who has shown patience, unselfishness, and great passing in college. Terry is still a rookie, though, and has no experience playing at the NBA level. He might not be ready yet to fill the giant hole that Ball left until his return.

 

Offseason moves

Nothing spectacular happened in the Bulls’ offseason but they still made important moves. For starters, they resigned Derrick Jones Jr. for two years and Zach LaVine for five. The latter signing was probably the most important move they made this offseason. LaVine is a two-time All-Star and has been the team’s centerpiece ever since he got there in 2017.

The Bulls added center Andre Drummond and guard Goran Dragić. Both are former All-Stars and offer the Bulls two things they desperately need. Dragić brings experience and depth to the point guard position, which is something they lacked last season. Drummond, on the other hand, should solve or at least improve the rebounding issues Chicago showed last season.

As already mentioned, Chicago also drafted Dalen Terry who has the potential to become a reliable facilitator. He is quick and agile and can guard multiple positions, which makes him one of the more underrated picks of this year’s draft.

Besides that, the Bulls lost Tristan Thompson and Troy Brown Jr. this offseason but both were rather easy to replace.

 

Expectations

After the Donovan Mitchell trade and the shifts, it caused in the East, it might be more difficult for the Bulls to make the playoffs than it was last season, especially if Ball is out for a longer period of time. When healthy, the Bulls are definitely playoff material, though, even if they are not contenders.

Chicago has three All-Stars, but their role players really hold the key to their success as there are many questions surrounding their supporting cast. Can Lonzo Ball come back to play on a high level and stay healthy? Will Andre Drummond still have a consistent impact? Are the young players ready to take on more responsibility?

If the answers to all these questions are yes, the Bulls will be back in the playoffs and maybe even make it past the first round. If not, we will see their season end in the play-in tournament.