If Coby White had averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds and six assists per game for the Chicago Bulls during the 2020-21 season, Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley probably wouldn’t have gone out and completed a sign-and-trade to acquire Lonzo Ball from the New Orleans Pelicans.
As it is, White is better suited as a scoring guard off the bench, and now Ball is being projected to produce that stat line for the Bulls in the 2021-22 season.
Kendrick Perkins Predicts Lonzo Ball Will Be a Stat-Sheet Stuffer
Former NBA player and current ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins spoke with Bally Sports’ Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson and he predicts Ball will be a stat-sheet stuffer in Chicago next season.
I see him averaging 15-10-and 6. We still haven’t been able to see the best of Lonzo Ball. I know I’ve been very critical of Billy Donovan. I became a fan of Billy Donovan this year and how hard he challenges his players to play on the defensive side of things. Lonzo Ball has become a great combo guard. We already know he’s a good floor general, but he’s developed a consistent three-point shot and you pair him along side Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, it’s going to be live city, it’s going be must see TV when you think about it.
Lob City surely sounds nice to Bulls fans.
Scoring Won’t Be a Problem For the Bulls, But Defense and Frontcourt Depth is Another Story
Chicago will score. That won’t be an issue. The combination of proven scorers like Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, DeMar DeRozan and other secondary guys like Ball, White and Patrick Williams should allow the Bulls simply outscore teams on some nights.
That approach won’t be enough against the league’s top teams, though. Defensively, the Bulls will need the players on the roster to commit to a higher level of focus on that end of the floor than they have ever shown. That means LaVine, DeRozan and Vucevic will all need to make it clear they are all willing to give more effort defensively, because their commitment figures to be a trickle-down effect throughout the rest of the roster.
In Williams, Ball, Alex Caruso, Tony Bradley, Troy Brown Jr., and Javonte Green, the Bulls have some players on the roster who have garnered a solid reputations as hard-nosed defenders. But there is still another level the team needs to rise to collectively.
The lack of depth in the front court is arguably and even bigger deal. The Bulls may be looking to play a lot of small-ball, but some nights they are simply going to be pounded on the glass by teams with bigger, more versatile lineups. Chicago still has 2 more slots to fill, and if they are unable to secure a player like the Timberwolves’ restricted free agent Jarred Vanderbilt, they may be better off signing G-League standout Simmi Shittu and a veteran big capable of providing solid defense and consistent minutes.
Without improvement or solidification in those 2 areas, the Bulls’ ceiling in 2021-22 will be lower, no matter what Ball’s Stat line is at the end if the season.
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