The Chicago Bulls didn’t make a splash in either the NBA draft or free agency. That isn’t a big surprise. Arturas Karnisovas mentioned several times that he likes the roster the team has. His goal is to see what it can do for an entire season where injuries aren’t such an issue. So the primary objective for the off-season was to fix weaknesses that got exposed during the second half of the season, such as rim protection, rebounding, and 3-point shooting.
His efforts ended up securing three key players. First was 18th overall pick, Dalen Terry, out of Arizona, a long guard with tenacious defensive prowess and plus court vision as a passer. Then came former All-Stars Andre Drummond and Goran Dragic. It wasn’t a spending spree with any flash, but experts around the league liked what Karnisovas was going for. Former sharpshooter Dennis Scott explained on NBA TV why the signings could be perfect for the team, provided the starters stay healthy.
“If that happens with (Patrick) Williams and you got Lonzo (Ball), now you feel better about what can happen. Now Drummond, you don’t have to play major minutes. Be a solid backup. Block some shots, rebound, set some quality screens, get Zach and them guys going. That’s perfect. Lonzo’s healthy? Now Dragic, I don’t need you to play 30 minutes a night. Come give me those 12-16 minutes. If somebody’s out for a game or two, you can handle the fort. So a little bit better, but they got to be healthy first.”
Chicago Bulls got their wake-up call in the playoffs.
It was apparent how outmatched they were against Milwaukee. The Bucks manhandled them on the boards and seemed to overpower them offensively. Without Ball and Zach Lavine hobbled by a knee injury, it is a minor miracle they avoided getting swept. It was a frustrating end to a season that started with such promise. From October 20th through January 11th, they were 26-11. Many considered them a contender for the #1 seed in the East. Then injuries began to hit.
Alex Caruso missed several games with a wrist problem courtesy of a dirty foul by Grayson Allen. Ball had to bow out after just 35 games due to a lingering knee issue. Williams suffered a dislocated wrist in the fifth game of the year. The Chicago Bulls’ starting lineup was never really intact all season. Team brass hopes that will change in 2022-2023. If it does, having Drummond, Dragic, and Terry on the bench should make them a much deeper and more balanced team.