We are just five games into this young season and the Bulls have a record of 3-2. This team has a margin of victory of 13.6 points and a margin of defeat of 17 points. The margin of defeat number is skewed considering they lost one of their two games by 32 points. Regardless of where the numbers stand now we have seen a few key developments so far in this young season. The Bulls still aren’t at 100% and won’t be for a while. Starting point guard Lonzo Ball likely won’t hit the court until mid-season at the earliest. So it’s time to take a deeper look at the group that’s out there right now. With only five games to judge them on some of these may seem like an overreaction.
Patrick Williams’s time in the starting lineup may come to an end
Let’s start with the most notable player on the Bulls, starting power forward, Patrick Williams. He is the most notable player because he has been the most underwhelming. In his five games, he’s averaged 6.2 PPG, 40%FG, 1.8 RPG, & 0.4 APG all while averaging 19.4 minutes per game. Until last night Williams hadn’t scored in double digits this season. Quite honestly he’s looked stale and non-existent offensively. It has been heavily noticed across the Bulls fan base.
It's getting more and more painful watching Patrick Williams stand still on offense every drive.
At least get the guy a chair so he can rest until it's time to play defense. pic.twitter.com/1Gbb9n3DtH
— Chicago Bulls Talk (@BullsSource) October 23, 2022
While we don’t know what plays are being called for Patrick it’s clear that he doesn’t seem to try and involve himself offensively. This is something that everyone has been waiting to see and Williams hasn’t shown much change. With his lack of productivity in the first five games, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him lose his spot to someone like forward Javonte Green. Green has been more explosive and present on the floor. He’s given the bench a spark and he shows that he could be a valuable asset in the starting lineup. The Bulls have some work to do with Williams and it could start with this idea right here.
— Gimme The Hot Sauce Podcast (@gimmehotsauce21) October 26, 2022
Whether the coaching staff takes this advice or not they will need to try something different with Williams. If not I could see Chicago fans calling for him to take on a bench role and move someone else into the starting position.
The Bull’s bench will make or break them this season
One of the biggest issues with the Bulls last season outside of health was the bench. The Bulls had the second-lowest-scoring bench in the league last year. This offseason they made two key additions in guard Goran Dragic and center Andre Drummond. In just 5 games the Bulls have the 7th highest-scoring bench and the 4th best +/- rating. It’s been heavily due to the newest additions to the team.
Drummond & Dragic (D&D, officially) in the Chicago Bulls win over the Pacers:
53% from the field
+35 in 33 mins
Bench mob is back. pic.twitter.com/WvOXpREtyF
— Artūras Karnišovas Fan Club (@arturasfanclub) October 27, 2022
These two have been big pieces to the Bull’s early success. For this team to continue succeeding the bench will need to keep up this high level of play. While the starters are high-caliber players the bench is going to be the backbone of this team. The bench needs to come out and score 35+ points per game for the Bulls to succeed. Those points won’t always be necessary but night in and night out the bench will need to compete at a high level. If the bench begins to decline the Bull’s season will trend in the wrong direction.
This is Zach LaVine’s team
Now I know this one doesn’t necessarily have the statistical backing but with only 3 games played by shooting guard Zach LaVine, it feels like this is his team again. Forward DeMar DeRozan took over the Bulls last year and carried them to the playoffs. After getting a max contract this offseason it’s time for LaVine to take over this team and be that guy. In his 3 games, he’s averaging 23.3 PPG, 44.4%FG, 3.7 RPG, & 3.7 APG. He’s again impacting this team at all levels. However, in his three games, it’s just felt different. He knows he’s just getting things started and that should be scary for the league.
Zach LaVine scored 28 points and he's still getting back into rhythm.
"I'm just getting my touch around the rim and everything. I think it's coming back… I’m getting there.”
📰 | @SamSmithHoops game recap:
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) October 27, 2022
LaVine has led the team in scoring twice in his three games. He is well on his way to taking back the reigns to this franchise and making the Bulls Zach LaVine’s team. When we hit the midway point don’t be surprised if LaVine has taken full control of this squad. His end goal is to win a championship and he’s going to be the largest factor in reaching that goal.