Depending on who you speak to, expectations for the Chicago Bulls in 2021-22 range from contending for the Eastern Conference crown to potentially missing the playoffs. That’s a pretty wide gap.
If you look to the team’s stars, especially Zach LaVine, you can almost feel his anticipation whenever he speaks. LaVine took to Twitter to respond to a tweet from the NBA highlighting his 10 best dunks from the past season.
LaVine needed just two words to serve as a response and prep for next year.
The Bulls Are Seemingly Being Disrespected By Hoops Prognosticators
With the additions of DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball, the Bulls now have one of the most talented starting fives in the NBA. It is weird to hear the Bulls’ collection of talent downplayed.
Before we begin to discuss Ball, Nikola Vucevic or Patrick Williams, a closer look at the dynamic duo that LaVine and DeRozan can become is at the very least, an intriguing thought.
NBA.com’s Scott Raferty wrote this about the pairing of the 2 elite perimeter scorers:
DeRozan is a fascinating get for the Bulls. He hasn’t been named an All-Star since he was traded from the Toronto Raptors in 2018, but he’s still one of the league’s better players at his position. He’s coming off a season in which he led the Spurs in scoring with 21.6 points per game on 49.5 percent shooting from the field while averaging a career-best 6.9 assists on only 2.0 turnovers. DeRozan has long been one of the league’s best one-on-one scorers, capable of getting his against almost anyone. He’s not a 3-point shooter, but he’s an elite midrange scorer — he shot 47.1 percent from that distance on high volume last season — as well as an athletic and crafty finisher at the rim. With DeRozan on the roster, Chicago is now home to two big-time one-on-one scorers. According to NBA.com, only 12 players averaged more points than DeRozan (3.6) in isolation last season, and he ranked in the 96th percentile with 1.20 points per possession. LaVine wasn’t far behind him, ranking 20th with 2.7 isolation points per game and in the 92nd percentile with 1.14 points per possession. With the two of them on the same team, there could be a lot of mismatch hunting in Chicago, especially in crunch time.
Despite these qualities and both players’ ability and willingness to facilitate at times, we’re hearing a lot of talk about fit. DeRozan didn’t take kindly to the concept as he challenged the basketball IQ of the critics who questioned how the Bulls’ new amalgamation of talent would mesh on the court.
During his introduction to the Bulls’ media, DeRozan said:
I mean, it’s basketball. Lot of people I see criticizing, talking about ‘fit this, fit that’ have probably never even played basketball. For me, if everybody (is) on the same page mentality and wants to win, it don’t matter about a ‘fit,’ because it’s all gonna come together how it need to come together and make it work. Because at the end of the day the common denominator is winning.
The Bulls’ Roster isn’t Perfectly Constructed, But…
Without a question, we’re not looking at the most conventional 5 considering the way most teams are constructed, but few squads have 3 legitimate 20-point-per-game scorers, and budding 20-year-old man-child at power forward in Patrick Williams and a 24-year-old, pass-first point guard who has vastly improved his three-point and free-throw shooting.
LaVine, Ball, DeRozan, Williams and Nikola Vucevic will score a ton of points next season. The only realistic question about their team is on defense.
LaVine, DeRozan and Vucevic have to be willing to defend at a higher level than they ever have in their professional careers. If they can raise their levels on that end, a Top-4 seed 8s possible.
- Bulls Analyst Outlines Wild Potential Lauri Markkanen Free-Agency Scenario
- Bulls Linked to 4-Time All-Star as Vet-Minimum Possibility
- Metta World Peace Reveals What Made Him Respect Scottie Pippen
- Bulls Signing Popular Summer League Player is ‘Plausible’
- Bulls Eyeing Sharp-Shooting Big Man in Lauri Markkanen Trade: Report