The Chicago Bulls added to their roster “on the margins” to borrow a phrase from the team earlier in the offseason. They only added three players that were not on the roster this past season.
But all three figure to contribute in some meaningful way next season for a team that, quite simply, ran out of capable bodies last season.
That is key with the news of starting point guard Lonzo Ball still battling through his knee injury and is not expected to be ready by the start of camp. Two of the Bulls’ offseason additions were already speculated to be directly tied to his status. The injury, a bone bruise, has lingered since January.
It is a different player, though, that could be the “cleanest fit.”
Andre Drummond Is Bulls’ ‘Best New Weapon,’ Per Bleacher Report
“While it’s possible Goran Dragic or rookie Dalen Terry could play the biggest role among the Bulls’ newcomers, Andre Drummond is the early favorite to be the cleanest fit,” suggested Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley in an August report entitled “Every NBA Team’s Best New Weapon.”
Neither fared particularly well nor did they complement what Vucevic can do offensively. That is something that general manager Marc Eversley said they would target this offseason.
“Chicago needed a big, athletic paint presence behind Nikola Vucevic,” continued Buckley, “and Drummond can be precisely that. He might have his flaws … but he gets hyperactive on the interior and showed last season he can handle a significant role for a contender.”
Buckley wrote that Drummond does not provide much versatility as a paint-bound presence on both ends.
But the two-time All-Star is still very capable of putting his stamp on the game, Buckley wrote.
“He nearly averaged a double-double (9.3 rebounds and 7.9 points) across 73 games for Philadelphia and Brooklyn despite seeing fewer than 20 minutes per night. He also contributed 2.0 steals and 1.7 blocks per 36 minutes while shaving 4.9 percentage points off his opponents’ connection rate inside of six feet.”
Drummond in the Paint
“A Bulls team that was too often muscled around in the middle (fourth-most field goals allowed within five feet) will feel Drummond’s impact early and often.”
The Bulls also ranked 28th in total rebounding last season so, even when their defense might have done its job, there was a decent chance the opponent would get another attempt to put up points.
“His value is going to come on the boards,” Gill said on the “Bulls Talk” podcast. “Where we can rebound. Where … Giannis [Antetoukoumpo] can’t just bully his way into the lane. Guys like that, that’s what we need him for. To solidify our defensive presence in the middle. Because, quite frankly, we just didn’t have one last year.”
Drummond, who has been called a potential “steal” of this offseason cycle, also received a vote of confidence from teammate Alex Caruso. So while he might not be what many envisioned hearing Eversley speak, that does not mean the Bulls did not do what they set out to.