If you can believe it, the NBA season is just around the corner. That’s a fact. And since it feels like forever since we’ve seen half of the league in action, we thought it’d be good to refresh our memories a bit. So, in the spirit of reminding ourselves that time is moving forward, let’s look ahead to the 2021 NBA Season, team-by-team.
The Chicago Bulls
2020 Record: 22-43
2020 Finish: 24th in the NBA, 11th in the Eastern Conference.
How It Started
Oh lawd, this was a bad team last season. While nothing good has come from the coronavirus, at all, it’s fair to say that we were not missing much with this team after the NBA shutdown. The team was 22-43 and 11th in the East, good enough to earn the right to stay home with their families through a pandemic.
Honestly, by the time the NBA decided to continue with 22 teams, some Chicago players and staff were relieved not to continue basketball. With the way 2020 has gone, you can’t blame them for just wanting a fresh start.
Former Head Coach Jim Boylen expressed confidence in his team at the start of the season as he declared the Bulls would make the playoffs at Chicago’s media day before the start of the season. Looking back at it, this roster would make you think this team had a chance.
After all, the Eastern Conference is very weak, and in the NBA, losing teams sneak into the playoffs very often. At Christmas, the Bulls were sniffing the playoffs but by March 11, 2020, they had no shot. Chicago had a hideous record when it came to playing teams with above .500 records, as they posted a record of 2-23 against such opponents.
However, on the other hand, Chicago was more successful than most teams in one category.
How It’s Going
Due to the previous ‘how it started’, the Bulls have majorly overhauled the look of the front office, coaching staff, and scouting department. Chicago hired Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley as the lead voices in the front office. Karnisovas then hired former Oklahoma City Thunder and Florida Gators legendary head coach Billy Donovan to replace Jim Boylen as the next Bulls leader. I personally love the hire of coach Billy Donovan who brings leadership, discipline, and creativity to a young team.
Ideally, it would be nice to see a few of the Bulls’ key players show us what they are made of. Zach LaVine is the player I envision the Bulls building around. Though LaVine has solidified, players like Otto Porter Jr, Kris Dunn, and Coby White should supply much-needed help. It’s a contract year for both Porter and Dunn, so I would expect elevated play from both of them.
Coby White started to come on last year but I think he really needs to define himself as a point guard instead of a shooting guard. White likes to score, but Zach Lavine is known for putting the team on his shoulders. I think a backcourt featuring them both on the floor at the same time is ideal.
This team needs to show future free agents that they can be competitive, so they can attract players who aren’t looking to play in a pressure-packed organization. As for current players who need to step-up, I would look at Otto Porter Jr who spent most of the 2019-20 season out with a foot injury. Also, Wendell Carter Jr, though a great passer, the team could use a strong presence at the rim to bolster their inside game.
I do believe the Bulls will be competitive this upcoming season, challenging for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. That is a major increase over last season’s poor showing. Look for Billy Donovan to make an immediate impact.
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