Since the NBA trade deadline the Chicago Bulls front office has been consistent about what their goal was this offseason, continuity. With the Bulls re-signing Zach LaVine to a max contract of five years at $212 million the team has been able to keep their core together.
Now the next thing for the Bulls is to get healthy this offseason. Injuries derailed a promising 27-13 start to last season as the team finished 46-36 placing them sixth in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls’ injuries started with a knee injury for Lonzo Ball that caused him to miss the rest of the season. Patrick Williams, Alex Caruso, and LaVine all sustained injuries that caused them to miss time, but all were able to return before the end of the regular season.
Ball Injury Update
Ball originally tried to start his rehab process in March to return from his injury but he could never ramp it up enough to make a return for the Bulls. The lingering injury is certainly a concern for the Bulls as he plays a key role on both ends of the floor.
If the Bulls hope to replicate their early-season success from this past season then they’ll need Ball to be healthy. Bulls head coach Billy Donovan joined the ESPN2 crew during Sunday’s Summer League game and gave an update on where Ball is now.
“Every day he seems to be improving. I think that the progress he has made has been steady. He keeps showing that progress. And that’s really what we all hope to continue to see,” Donovan said. “We’re obviously all hopeful that it will happen faster. But he is making progress.”
It’s definitely encouraging for the Bulls and their fans to hear that Ball is making progress. However, it’s unclear at this time how close he is to being ready to play in games.
As a precaution, the Bulls signed veteran point guard Goran Dragic to a one-year contract in free agency. While Dragic certainly won’t have the same impact as Ball at the defensive end of the floor, he’s a very capable veteran that can help lead the second unit.
The best-case scenario for the Bulls this season is for Ball to be fully healthy at the start of the season. After Ball’s injury finished the season just 19-23 after a red hot start.
Ball’s first season in Chicago was one of the best of his five-year career so far. Ball averaged 13.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. He also shot a career-high 42.3% from three-point range making 3.1 threes per game.
If Ball isn’t healthy to start the season it’s unknown who would start for the Bulls at point guard but the likely answer is Ayo Dosunmu. After Ball went down Dosunmu started 40 games for the Bulls in a solid rookie campaign.
Dosunmu averaged 8.8 points, 3.3 assists, and 2.8 rebounds per game this past season which earned him second-team all-rookie honors. The good news for the Bulls if Ball isn’t ready at the start of the season is they have depth in the backcourt, but if Ball isn’t ready then the team’s concerns over his knee will just continue to grow.