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Chicago Bulls Roster: 2023 Moves and Expectations

Apr 12, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) knocks the ball away from Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) as Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) looks on during the second half of a NBA Play-In game at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball in the Windy City has struggled since Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler were on the team. Through the ups and downs, fans still have high expectations for the Chicago Bulls, and it remains to be seen if the current roster can deliver. Last season, the 40-42 team failed to advance past the Play-In. With many question marks surrounding the roster, Chicago’s chief basketball executive Arturas Karnisovas decided to double down and build with the current core to compete next season.

Chicago Bulls Roster: 2023 Moves and Expectations

Offseason Additions: Jevon Carter, Torrey Craig, Julian Phillips

Losses: Patrick Beverley, Derrick Jones Jr., Javonte Green

Returns: Nikola VucevicCoby White, Ayo Dosunmu, Andre Drummond

Roster Breakdown

With Vucevic returning, the team is led by a big three of him, Zach LaVine, and DeMar DeRozan. The guards are LaVine, Carter, Dosunmu, White, Alex Caruso, Carlik Jones, and the injured Lonzo Ball. LaVine is locked in as a starter, but it remains to be seen how head coach Billy Donovan will handle the situation at point guard. Ball is not expected to play this upcoming season as he continues to deal with knee issues.

Meanwhile, the wings for Chicago are DeRozan, Dalen Terry, Patrick Williams, Craig, and Phillips. DeRozan will be a starter, while Craig or Williams will start at the other forward spot. Williams may fare better leading the second unit, so there is a chance Craig starts with his defensive prowess proving valuable between DeRozan and Vucevic. Some guards and wings offer versatility to rotate into the frontcourt or backcourt as Donovan’s lineup rotation calls for it. Caruso spent time everywhere, from the one to the four spot last season. White, Dosunmu, and Terry can and have rotated between the wing and backcourt spots. Donovan likes using four-guard lineups at times, and Chicago’s crowded backcourt allows him the versatility to equip his lineups as such.

Chicago’s bigs are Vucevic and Drummond. Adama Sanogo signed a two-way deal, but his chances of cracking a rotation for a team attempting to compete are slim. Vucevic will continue to be the third option in the Bulls’ offense, hoping to build upon his career-high 57% effective field goal percentage from last season. Drummond will be the primary backup again. He was most impactful as a rebounder off the bench, averaging a 29.6% total rebound percentage last season. Expect him to be on the rotation’s edge, seeing similar minutes to last year’s 12.7 per game.

The Point Guard Question

Chicago brought in Carter and re-signed Dosunmu for the position, but there isn’t a definitive answer at point guard yet. Carter, Dosunmu, and Caruso are all solid-to-great defenders and will be in the rotation, White is a sixth-man shot-maker, and Jones will be out of the rotation. Last season, Dosunmu had 2.2 defensive win shares, and Caruso had 2.6. White shot 37.2% from the three-point line.

Carter comes in for Beverley, who started 22 games for the Bulls last season. Beverley was a crucial part of Chicago’s lineup towards the end of the season, but Carter provides similar skills to Beverley. Carter is the better shooter and still a solid defender and playmaker. Expect Donovan to rotate a couple of players, namely Carter and Dosunmu, at point guard in the starting lineup.

Expectations

Ultimately, Chicago made moves to extend some type of competitive window under DeRozan, LaVine, and Vucevic. Without a stable solution at point guard, the Bulls are missing playmaking. They have some stars, but the team has yet to be elevated to the level of Eastern Conference powerhouses. It is hard to imagine they will reach that level this season, but Bulls management wants to try. For now, don’t expect a shot up to a top-three seed, but don’t expect the team to give up, either.

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