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2023-24 Chicago Bulls Season Preview

Oct 2, 2023; Chicago, IL, USA; (L-R) Chicago Bulls forward Patrick Williams (44), guard Zach LaVine (8), center Nikola Vucevic (9), forward DeMar DeRozan (11), guard Jevon Carter (5), and guard Alex Caruso (6) during Chicago Bulls Media Day at Advocate Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

As the NBA season kicks off, it’s time to explore key questions, storylines, and predictions in this season preview for the Windy City’s Chicago Bulls.

2023-24 Chicago Bulls Season Preview

Preseason Takeaways

The Bulls’ preseason was an overall disappointment, ending in a 1-4 record. Among the disappointment were a few bright spots that gave some semblance of hope for this team.

Zach LaVine Back in All-Star Form

Zach LaVine looked as impressive as ever in his limited minutes during this preseason. The explosive guard seemed comfortable handling the ball and barreling to the rack. LaVine shot 51% around the rim, but only 31% from three. However, coach Billy Donovan seems confident LaVine will be able to round that percentage back to above average.

Lavine is 28 years old this season, entering into his physical prime. He could take a major step forward as the number one option for the Bulls. With a summer of workouts in his pocket, he will look to be back to his All-Star form again. At his best, LaVine could be one of the most explosive three-level scorers in the league.

Potential Breakout Year for Coby White

Freshly extended point guard Coby White had an unexpectedly impressive preseason, averaging 13 PPG on 54% from the field and 32% from deep. In the continued absence of Lonzo Ball, Chicago was faced with a major problem at the point guard spot. White’s ascension could be the solution. As Donovan increases White’s usage, the Bulls can benefit greatly from the efficient 13-16 PPG he could contribute. Add in also becoming a more solid playmaker, and the young guard could be en route to a breakout season.

New Additions Looking Good

This offseason, Chicago signed forward Torrey Craig and guard Jevon Carter. The pair had a quiet preseason statistically, but both players bring grit defensively and will be the team’s “glue guys.” Craig has already proven valuable as a veteran presence, as illustrated by Billy Donovan:

“[Craig] does not stop talking… it’s not like he’s instructing or giving direction, he’s very positive on the bench and he’s constantly communicating on the floor defensively.”

Concerns and Questions Facing Chicago

Not Enough Threes or Free Throws

During training camp, Donovan emphasized the team’s need for a higher volume of threes and getting to the line more often. The preseason saw an increase in ball movement and fluidity opening up for more shots, but Chicago still ranked in the bottom five for both threes and free throws. To be competitive this season, the Bulls must maximize spacing and play more aggressively in the paint.

Underwhelming Defense

In the preseason, the Bulls had a bottom-10 defensive rating of 109.3 and ranked dead last in defensive rebounding. Chicago will look to Craig to add some much-needed toughness on the inside and increase their defensive rebounding numbers. He, Carter, and Alex Caruso will look to improve the team’s defensive credibility.

What Will Become of Patrick Williams?

While several of his draft classmates locked down their rookie extensions before the deadline, Patrick Williams remained unextended. There have been many question marks around his game. Despite having a career year last season, his hesitancy with the ball is discouraging. Through his few preseason games, there were a handful of plays where Williams gave up the ball rather than being aggressive to shoot it. Williams is gifted defensively, but Chicago expects more offensively from the former fourth-overall pick.

Without the extension, Williams will become a restricted free agent next summer. This puts him in the position where he has to prove his worth to secure a favorable contract in 2024, which he seems eager to do:

“The hardest thing to do in any profession is to go from good to great. That’s the goal of mine…”

Donovan has maintained Williams as the starting PF to start the season, but with the potential plus that Craig brings, he will have to be extra aggressive to keep that starting spot. Perhaps all of these circumstances will drive Williams to be who Chicago wants and needs him to be to succeed this season.


In previewing this season for the Chicago Bulls, one must consider all of the factors affecting the potential turnout for this team.

The best-case scenario is doing slightly better than last year’s 40-42 record. In that season, the Bulls lost several clutch-time games, so can a back-to-amazing LaVine and an improved White increase Chicago’s odds for those games? That’s certainly what Donovan and the Bulls hope.

The worst-case scenario will be an abysmal start to the season, which could be likely considering the Bulls have the 10th hardest schedule for the first part of the season. A poor start may cause the Bulls’ front office to hit the panic button and eject this current core to start over from ground zero. Donovan also may be on his way out if the Bulls have a disappointing start. However, to some discouraged Bulls fans, a blow-up-and-restart is exactly what they want to happen.

Realistically, Chicago has enough talent and experience to hover around a .500 record. Though small, the team did make improvements this offseason that bode competing for a play-in spot at worst and a low playoff seed at best.


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