Chicago Bulls Rumors
The Bulls started the 2018-2019 season with high hopes of competing for a spot in the NBA Playoffs. During the previous offseason, they drafted Center Wendell Carter Jr. out of Duke 7th overall and Shooting Guard Chandler Hutchinson out of Boise State at 22nd overall. Couple those two young players with the offseason addition of former number two overall pick Jabari Parker and the re-signing of Zach LaVine. Bulls fans were validated in their excitement for the new season. Unfortunately, it was short-lived. The Bulls started their campaign with three straight losses to Philadelphia, Detroit, and Dallas. They would only win two out of their eight games in October to start the season. The season wouldn’t get much better in November when the Bulls went a horrific 3-12 and flew down to last in the Central Division.
On December 3, 2018, the Bulls fired Head Coach Fred Hoiberg and replaced him with his assistant Jim Boylen. Now under the guise and leadership of Boylen, the Bulls improved slightly in December, going 5-9, but fans knew that the season was essentially over for the team. In January, the Bulls didn’t win a single game at home in the United Center, going 0-7. This also would end up being their worst month of the season, going an atrocious 2-13 and eliminating the Bulls from playoff contention by February. This season did produce the Bulls' highest-scoring game in franchise history as it’s one bright spot, recording 168 points on March 1, 2019, in a quadruple overtime 168–161 win over the Atlanta Hawks. It was also the third-highest scoring game in NBA history and the third game where both teams scoring broke through the 160-point barrier in the same game. The Bulls would go an inferior 10-20 the rest of the way and finish 13th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 22-60 in a massively disappointing season.
The 2019 offseason was one of much hostility between the fans and the management of the Bulls. For many years, fans had been calling for general managers’ Gar Foreman and John Paxson to be fired for their failure to rebuild a team following the Derrick Rose era. With some of the actions and questionable coaching decisions that Head Coach Jim Boylen made during his time as a coach, many fans were calling for his job. Regardless, team owner Jerry Reinsdorf decided to give the regimen at least one more chance to construct a competitive team. On the night of the draft lottery, the Bulls fell to #7, the furthest a team with the fourth-best odds had fallen in the NBA draft lottery. They then selected Point Guard Coby White out of North Carolina with the 7th overall pick. The Bulls then counted on their young core of players to grow together and compete for a playoff spot. This did not go as planned as several key players suffered injuries early for the Bulls, which stymied their growth plans. As the season went on, it was clear that the Bulls would not be competing for the playoffs once again. With a record of 22-43, they were trending in the wrong direction again. Ultimately, this would turn out to be a lost season for Chicago when the COVID-19 virus hit the United States. The season was suspended by league officials following March 11, 2020, after it was reported that Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. On June 4, 2020, the season came to an end for the Bulls when the NBA Board of Governors approved a plan that would restart the season with 22 teams returning to play in the NBA Bubble on July 31, 2020, which was approved by the National Basketball Players Association the next day. The Bulls, with a record of 22-43, did not qualify. In April 2020, the Bulls fired Gar Forman, reassigned John Paxson to a senior advisor role, and hired Artūras Karnišovas as executive vice president of basketball operations. In May 2020, the Bulls hired Marc Eversley as general manager. Boylen was later fired as head coach on August 14, 2020. The Bulls replaced him with former Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan on September 22.
Top 10 Current Bulls Players
SG Zach LaVine - (Preseason - #1) - (Proj. Finish - #1)
This is assuming the Bulls don’t trade their number one player before the beginning of next season. LaVine has been involved in trade discussions recently with the Bulls looking to get better draft picks. He is an ultra-talented scorer, with the ability to space the floor as well as anyone in the league can. He can slash to the rim or point up and shoot. He is easily the best player on the current roster at only 25 years of age.
PF Lauri Markkanen - (Preseason - #2) - (Proj. Finish - #2)
Drafted as the 7th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Markkanen is, at this point, still a mystery. He has shown the ability to be a star in this league but struggles with consistency. He is a strong inside-out scorer who thrives in pick and roll situations. He also has a very good pump-fake that he shoots a high-percentage off of. He is a poor defender and passer and operates best as an outside scoring threat.
C Wendell Carter Jr. - (Preseason - #3) - (Proj. Finish - #3)
Another 7th overall pick the year after Markkanen, Carter Jr. has many similarities to his production. His biggest strength is rebounding, where he has shown to be a great glass cleaning center in the NBA. He operates well under the basket and can score underneath as well as mid-range. Carter Jr. struggles to pass the ball and is a below-average defender. Still, he has upside but needs to put it together.
SF Otto Porter Jr. - (Preseason - #4) - (Proj. Finish - #5)
Porter Jr. has become a key player to the Bulls because he can space the floor with his 3-pt prowess. A former number three overall pick out of Georgetown, Porter Jr. has ultimately failed to live up to the hype surrounding him during the 2013 NBA Draft. He is an athletic 3-pt specialist at his best when spotting up a 3 from the top of the key. He is a poor rebounder and defender and doesn’t do much in terms of anything at the basket. He gets the nod here because from this point on, it’s pretty much a toss-up and relies on player progression or veteran leadership.
PG Coby White - (Preseason - #5) - (Proj. Finish - #4)
White is the player that has the most potential of any player in the current Bulls lineup. He has shown the ability to score in bunches. As the 7th overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft, White is a key piece to the Bull’s plans. He is a fantastic athlete and playmaker, with insane speed and great passing vision. He struggles as an inside scorer, and as a PG, is not a very good rebounder. But his upside is immense, and we wouldn’t doubt him moving up in these rankings.
PF Thaddeus Young - (Preseason - #6) - (Proj. Finish - #6)
Young is the veteran presence on the team that keeps the young guys calm and illustrates how a professional player should be. While he is older and doesn’t offer the type of product that others on this list do, he makes up for it by setting an example for the young Bulls. Young has always been a great athlete and defender. His speed isn’t what it once was, but he still can surprise you for a PF.
PG Kris Dunn - (Preseason - #7) - (Proj. Finish - #7)
At this point, you could rank any of these players as a pick’em. We put Dunn here because he is still a relatively young player, but his upside seems settled. As a former top-5 draft pick, Dunn has been largely disappointing for his career. He has time to turn around the perception of himself, but time is running out. Dunn’s biggest strength has been his playmaking ability. He is quick with the ball in his hands and is a terrific passer.
SF Denzel Valentine - (Preseason - #8) - (Proj. Finish - #8)
Valentine entered the league as a player that some thought could grow into a star. At Michigan State, he looked the part of a player who could potentially change a franchise. He did not grow into that type of player. Now, Valentine is more of a scorer off the bench. He is a horrible rebounder and inside scoring threat, but he actually shoots a decent 3 ball. Valentine’s outside scoring ability may be the only thing that keeps him on the roster at this point. Tomas Satoransky
PG Tomas Satoransky - (Preseason - #9) - (Proj. Finish - #9)
Satoransky, in many ways, is just a clone of Valentine, in that his biggest strength is outside scoring, and it’s what keeps him here. You could interchange the two of them, but we put Satoransky here because his position isn’t as important to the Bulls roster as Valentine’s. They have plenty of PG depth and a lack of skill at SF. Satoransky is a decent passer, but he’s not going to be anything special.
C Daniel Gafford - (Preseason - #10) - (Proj. Finish - #10)
There is no real reason we have Gafford here, other than the fact that he plays at a premium position for the Bulls. He is a young player that has upside but is likely limited. He is a pretty good athlete and does a decent job scoring inside from what we’ve seen from the young center so far.
Bulls Rumors FAQ
Would the Bulls take Lamelo Ball at #1 if they were to swing trade?
There's been blind speculation the Bulls would trade up, albeit without any specifics. If they were to trade up to the #1 pick, Ball would probably not be the pick. This type of trade most likely won’t happen, as this is not the draft to start yet another rebuild.
Should the Bulls blow everything up and start over completely?
While the Bulls surely have some talent on the roster, an argument has been made that some of these players, LaVine in particular, only look good because they are playing with a bunch of mediocre players. We’re not sure this is the draft or the time to blow the team-up.
Could the Bulls select Onyeka Okongwu out of USC?
Okongwu was awesome and completely overpowered college players in his freshman year at USC. However, despite the feelings on Okongwu, ultimately the Bulls selected Patrick Williams with the 4th overall pick out of Florida State. The rookie has impressed early in the preseason.
Is Otto Porter the one player, the Bulls could trade and get value for?
I like to think of Porter during his healthy playing time, but the Bulls are a young team and probably one and done at best next year. So why try and fit Otto into a young team with a potential roller coaster year?
Do the Bulls have a chance to grab Obi Toppin in the Draft?
I've been impressed watching Toppin score like an NBA player. Defense gets mentioned as a weakness, though I don't see many two-way rookies. He could be available at #4 overall and should be a player that the Bulls will target come draft time.
Could the Bulls trade Otto Porter and the 4th pick for Gordon Hayward and the Celtics 14th pick?
Yes. But it would be a terrible trade for both teams. Hayward has just one year left, like Porter. But then he's a free agent and hardly that final piece for the Bulls. It doesn't advertise well for Boston and becomes bad for their chances to snag other free agents.
If the Bulls can move Young and/or Sato and rescind Valentine, can they free up enough money to make a run at Fred Van Fleet?
It would be surprising if a team with salary cap room would use it on Satoransky or Young. It’s possible, but Toronto’s fanbase would be livid if they let Van Fleet go only to sign two guys that really have no upside.