NBA Power Rankings #22: Chicago Bulls
photo via sportslogos.net
Before I jump into this, I'd like to point out my bias as a Chicago Bulls fan. I don't know if that makes me harder on them or easier on them. I'll let the readers sort that out among yourselves.
The Chicago Bulls are coming off their first season without Jimmy Butler, and that decision to trade him is looking better and better by the minute. After hearing what's going on with Butler in Minnesota and what the Timberwolves may potential get from it it certainly seems like the Bulls won that trade. Not all the pieces that they got in the Butler trade turned out exactly as hoped for the Bulls, however. Kris Dunn was uninspiring as the starting point guard and Zach Lavine's injury didn't give him a full season and signed a questionable four-year $80 million dollar contract in the off-season. A year after the trade, it looks like the biggest win for the Bulls was getting Lauri Markkanen. Markkanen was on the All-Rookie First Team and showed that he's college shooting skills transfer over to the league just fine.
Winning the Jimmy Butler trade, however, was one of few victories for the Bulls in the 2017-2018 season. The Bulls finished with a 27-55 record and wound up with the #7 and #22 picks in the 2018 NBA draft. The Bulls went with Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison and it seems like the Bulls were smart in the draft this time around. Carter Jr. turned lots of heads in the 2018 Summer League and Hutchison's four-year college experience should transition him well into a bench-role in the NBA.
The biggest addition for the Bulls this off-season actually came in free agency as opposed to the draft. Chicago native Jabari Parker will be wearing the white and red this season after signing a one-year $20 million contract with a team option in the following season. This certainly clogs up the front court and minutes will be hard to come by, but the talent of Parker along with the Chicago roots made this an easy decision for the Bulls front office. Parker is only 23 and when healthy is a serious scoring threat to the opposing defense.
Sadly, he's also a serious threat to the Bulls own defense. The Bulls will be among the league's worst when it comes to defense with Lavine and Parker most likely as the starting wings, Markkanen still learning how to rotate and position himself properly, and a head coach whose only focus is knocking down threes. The Bulls could be a team that sneak into the eighth or seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, but it's almost certain that they'll be looking at another below .500 season.