We are just under a month away from training camp starting and the Bulls have finally rounded out their roster. After a thrilling start to free agency, the Bulls still had two open roster spots as of yesterday morning. The Bulls front office decided it was time to fill up this roster and made three different moves yesterday to do just that.
The Chicago Bulls are signing forward Stanley Johnson, per @ShamsCharania.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) September 6, 2021
It started with the signing of power forward Stanley Johnson which left the Bulls with just one roster spot remaining. Then news broke of who will be filling out the 15th and final spot.
Free agent F Alize Johnson has agreed on a two-year, $3.6M deal with the Chicago Bulls, his agent @GeorgeLangberg tells ESPN. The Bulls had a need for power forward depth and roster offers some real opportunity for Johnson.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 6, 2021
The Bulls filled out the roster with the signing of forward Alize Johnson. Yesterday the Bulls also added guard Matt Thomas who will be a training camp addition. With these signings, the Bulls have their roster ready for the start of training camp and the season. This roster only features two players from the GarPax era and is completely revamped from last season. Let’s take a look at this roster from the starters to the reserves.
The Bulls Starting Five
The starting five for this team now features three different players than last year’s opening day starting five. Comparing this starting five to the end of last season it features two brand new players who were added during free agency. This new starting five is hoping to revamp the Bulls and make them a playoff team.
Chicago Bulls 2021-22 starting five
PG – Lonzo Ball
SG – Zach LaVine
SF – DeMar DeRozan
PF – Patrick Williams
C – Nikola Vucevic
That’s a top-5 seed in the East
— Adam Koffler (@AdamKoffler) August 3, 2021
The Bulls new stating five is loaded with new offensive weapons. The team has an official floor general with point guard Lonzo Ball. They added a veteran presence in forward DeMar DeRozan who can still play at a high level. Year two for forward Patrick Williams is sure to be an upgrade from his rookie season. The same goes for center Nikola Vucevic who will begin his first full season with the Bulls this year. Then you have guard Zach LaVine who has improved every single season he has been in the league and is on a trajectory to be in the discussion of league MVP. This team is night and day better than it was last season.
This starting five now features three players who averaged 20+ PPG last season. Combine that with two players who averaged over 5 assists per game in DeRozan (6.9 APG) & Ball (5.7 APG) and this is a completely new offense. The starters can now run the ball through each other and look for someone other than LaVine to score. This starting five is significantly more exciting and should be able to run head coach Billy Donovan’s style of play well.
The Bench Unit
Moving past the starters the Bulls made some moves this offseason to revamp the team’s bench unit. This team did not have a great unit coming off the bench and Donovan often had to move players around just to try and keep some sort of rhythm when LaVine and Vucevic were sitting. Looking at the team’s bench coming into this season there’s a lot more optimism.
Chicago Bulls Full Roster
10. A Johnson
12. S Johnson
2 Way Contracts
2. Pending Signing
— Chicago Bulls Rumors (@chicagobullsbot) September 7, 2021
The Bulls bench now consists of two solid guards coming off the bench in Alex Caruso and Coby White. With the most recent addition of Alize Johnson, the Bulls give themselves a second option at power forward which they didn’t have prior to this signing. The Bulls added three new players to this bench unit who should play some pretty big roles for this team. The Bulls are especially hoping to see more of forward Troy Brown Jr. who only appeared in 13 games for the team last season due to injury. This bench unit has a ton of potential at an average age of 23.7 years old. This bench unit is young with a high upside. Some of these guys have shown that they can be good when given the chance. The key surrounding this unit is consistency.
Will the Bulls be able to depend on them for 35-40 points per game? This group has potential but they are young and will need some time to develop with one another. Allowing guard Coby White to move back to the shooting guard position will help him continue to build on his improved shooting. This Bulls bench can shock a lot of people the main focus just needs to be on consistency.
Last but not least let’s look at the team’s reserves. The Bulls reserves consist of two rookies in guard Ayo Dosunmu who was drafted out of Illinois this year and big man Marko Simonovic who was drafted in 2020 but spent the last year abroad. These two are in developmental roles and could be featured in games depending on injury and their progression. One of the team’s reserves was added yesterday in Stanley Johnson. Johnson has been in the league for six years and hasn’t been able to find a place for himself. He’s played for three different teams over that span and hasn’t been able to play consistent offense. The one thing he does bring to this team is defense. He’s an athletic defensive wing and that’s something the Bulls have needed after last season.
Stanley Johnson was a highly regarded prospect coming out of Arizona, and gives the Bulls another solid wing defender. Not much to offer on the offensive end, but he’s athletic & can finish at the rim. Decent depth pick-up 3 weeks before training camp. https://t.co/oPEOXIUr4B
— Mark Schanowski (@MarkSchanowski) September 6, 2021
Depending on how he performs in training camp he could find himself in a position to be featured in some games. He will need to become more consistent on offense and actually prove he can play both sides of the ball before that happens.
The final reserve spot goes to someone who was on the team for half the season last year, guard Javonte Green. He was featured in 16 games with the team but didn’t contribute much. Expect the same role from him this season. The Bulls do have 1 two-way contract on the team and that’s Devon Dotson. The team did sign guard Matt Thomas to a training camp deal yesterday as well. Both were featured in games last season but didn’t produce a whole lot. We likely won’t see much of them barring injuries.
The Bulls are ready to compete
Like I said earlier this team only features two players who were on the team at the start of last season. This is going to take a little bit of time for these players to mesh together. However, when they do the league needs to watch out. The Bulls are going to be a force to be reckoned with once they learn each other’s play style. This team has weapons on offense while still having players who can play defense. The Bulls will certainly need to improve on the defensive side of the ball however they made some smart additions capable of playing defense. The excitement in Chicago is at a level it hasn’t been since D Rose was on the team. Even players coming to the team can feel the same excitement the fans do.
On my way to Chicago. MOOD! Let’s work! pic.twitter.com/agwfxXt64H
— Alize Johnson (@AlizeJohnson) September 6, 2021
The Bulls will have a lot of expectations on them this year. There haven’t been many expectations for them over the last few seasons but the front office has turned the ship around. This team will need to push for a playoff spot and bring Chicago basketball back to being relevant.