By: Sam Fretto
The NBA season tips off in about two weeks, and the Chicago Bulls will start off the year at home against the OKC Thunder on October 25th. The roster heads into the 2023 campaign with a very similar makeup to last year. What can you expect?
The Bulls finished last season with a 40-42 record and finished 10th in the Eastern Conference. They beat the 9th seed Raptors to advance to play the Miami Heat for the 8th seed where they would ultimately collapse late and lose to the eventual champions of the east.
Speculation came about on what the Chicago Bulls would do once the offseason became official, especially with outside pressure mounting on both the players and the front office (looking at you Reinsdorf). Ultimately the Bulls are going to be running it back with much of the same crew as last season.
Patrick Beverley, Javonte Green, Derrick Jones Jr., Marko Simonovic, Terry Taylor
Jevon Carter, Torrey Craig, Julian Philips, Onuralp Bitim (Two-Way), Adama Sanogo (Two-Way)
The Bulls brought back Nikola Vucevic on a 3-year, $30 million deal as well as extending Coby White with a 3-year, $36 million deal. The main core of Zach Lavine, Demar Derozan, Nikola Vucevic, Patrick Williams, Coby White, and Alex Caruso remains untouched as their key acquisitions were all role players.
The Chicago Bulls are projected to win 37.5 games this season and are expected to miss the playoffs. The Bulls are a team that is getting older as they are going to be relying on 33-year-old Nikola Vucevic and 34-year-old Demar Derozan. Their defense is undoubtedly going to get worse while the offense will likely suffer as guys like Vucevic who rely on quickness in the post to get open looks will regress.
Along with the aging of guys like Vucevic and Derozan, the Bulls will need to rely on Zach Lavine who has a history of knee injuries, you can’t fully rely on Lavine’s health. This current core seems like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode in the face of team President Artūras Karnišovas.
The outlook for the season is a bleak one for the Bulls as I expect them to be just under their projected win total of 37.5. The Chicago Bulls made no meaningful changes to their team and they are basically hoping that team chemistry carries them to the heights they were at in the first half of the 2021-2022 season. Lonzo Ball has no update and even he isn’t the missing piece for the Bulls to be contenders.
I would expect serious changes to this team as the trade deadline approaches if they aren’t up to standards as Demar Derozan is a pending free agent as well as Lavine being in trade rumors constantly.
The good news for the Bulls is they own their first-round pick this season, so if you’re a Bulls fan you may want to be watching college basketball and looking ahead to the draft lottery in the summer.