Incoming USC freshman Isaiah Collier could be the answer to the Bulls’ problems.
“The Bulls figure to be motivated to find an upgrade at point guard,” wrote Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report on September 8. “Capable shot-making should be the key to Collier looking like a top-10 pick in this draft … his strong frame and assist numbers will have scouts buying into his attacking and facilitating translating.”
Collier is a 6-foot-5, five-star guard prospect who ranked No. 1 at his position both regionally and nationally while also topping ESPN’s Top-100 list.
A native of Marietta, Georgia, Collier averaged 19.6 points, 6.8 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game in his senior season at Wheeler High School.
“Collier would offer an uncommon mix of physical driving and passing to Chicago’s backcourt,” Wasserman wrote. “He still has something to prove as a shooter, but he did show improvement last season. In the right setting—possibly Chicago’s—he could play to his strengths early as a driving force and playmaker.”
His profile is similar to that of Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu coming out of college.
Dosunmu opened the 2022-23 season as the starting point guard but lost those duties throughout the course of the year. He is not expected to compete for the job in training camp this year after struggling with efficiency and as a playmaker last season.
“Jevon will bring some of the defense we lost at the lead guard spot with Lonzo (Ball) out,” an anonymous Bulls staffer said, per Keith Smith of Spotrac on July 14. “And he can shoot too. Coby has come a long way. We think he could win Sixth Man of the Year. He’s been that good as a bench scorer.”
This does present a different potential issue, however, and that is the Bulls missing the playoffs.
Bulls Core Could Be on Last Chance
Starting center Nikola Vucevic made some ominous comments on the future of the Bulls’ current core, suggesting that time and patience may be running out for himself, DeMar DeRozan, and Zach LaVine as a group.
“We have to do better,” Vučević said, per Yahoo Sports NBA reporter Jake Fischer on August 31. “We know it’s kind of our last chance as this core of guys to do something.”
Vucevic just re-upped on a three-year, $60 million contract while LaVine is in the second year of a five-year, $215 million contract. DeRozan is the lone member of the Bulls’ big three who is in the last year of his contract, though he may be the safest given what he does on the court and off of it in terms of mentoring the younger players.
That is unless he decides he wants to jump to a contender, a notion which he shot down.
Another Slow Start Could Force Tough Decisions
The Bulls’ front office – helmed by executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas – has practiced extreme patience in the face of myriad health and fit concerns throughout the roster.
It could take a disastrous start for Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley to finally pivot off this current group.
They did fall short of the expectations Karnisovas set before last season.
A top-10 draft pick in 2024 would make twice since they took over in 2020 that the team finished poorly enough to be picking that high. That wouldn’t be so bad if they hadn’t traded away both of the picks that finished that high with the first being used by the Orlando Magic to select rising star Franz Wagner in 2021.