Things are tough for the Chicago Bulls while they attempt to battle through issues with their roster due to an outbreak of COVID-19. However, in the bigger picture, the Bulls have had perhaps the most surprisingly strong season of any team in the NBA.
Why have the Bulls, who are 17-10, been so good?
You can look no further than the work done by Vice President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley. They together constructed a team that most criticized initially, but have been forced to change their tune.
The Bulls Are Finally Getting Credit for a Strong Offseason
Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report gave the Bulls an A+ in his latest assessment of their front-office moves. The article was a re-grade project that examined the offseason moves of every NBA team as we head into the New Year.
Swartz said the Bulls’ offseason was “damn close” to perfection. He wrote: “It’s almost impossible to have a perfect offseason, but these Bulls look damn close.”
In inking DeMar DeRozan, the Bulls found Zach LaVine what appears to be a perfect running mate. Swartz continued:
“The last time DeRozan (26.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists) averaged this many points, he was an All-Star starter with the Toronto Raptors in 2017-18. It’s the second-highest scoring average of his career, putting to bed any questions of his fit alongside Zach LaVine. What’s more impressive is his swing rating of plus-12.1, which is somehow only the second time he’s been in the positive in 13 seasons.”
DeRozan’s scoring and closing ability have been huge for the team. His savvy and high basketball IQ appears to be a positive influence on LaVine. As good as DeRozan has been for the team’s offense, the additions of Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso have made just as big of an impact on the defense.
Swartz didn’t leave out their contributions. He wrote:
“Ball looks more comfortable than ever as a scorer, playmaker and defender, and his 42.6 percent mark from three ranks 16th overall in the NBA. Caruso has been a godsend for the second unit and is easily one of the league’s top defenders at the guard position. He leads the NBA in both steals per game (2.2) and steal percentage (3.8 percent) while keeping the offense humming. Chicago’s free-agent acquisitions always looked good. Following a 17-8 start to the season, they couldn’t possibly look better.”
While the Bulls have already turned around what was a non-playoff team last season, there is still some work to be done if the teams wants to contend.
What Will the Bulls’ Next Move Be?
Chicago is need of a big man. They aren’t looking for a traditional, plodding big. They already have one of them in Nikola Vucevic, and he’s been terribly disappointing this season. That includes a horrendous performance on Saturday, December 11 against the Bam-Adebayo-less Miami Heat.
Vucevic was outplayed by Dewayne Dedmon who dwarfed his production by outscoring him 20-10 and outrebounding him 11-8.
The hope is that Vooch gets his game together. Besides a Vucevic resurgence, the Bulls need an NBA-caliber power forward who can shoot from three, has defensive versatility and who doesn’t threaten what has become one of the strongest locker rooms in the NBA.
If the Bulls can find a way to pry Harrison Barnes away from the Sacramento Kings without given up too many core players, they might have found the perfect guy to fill the gap they have in their starting lineup.
If the Bulls add Barnes, a strong year of front office moves will get even stronger.
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