Such a strange season for the Bulls last year. It all started before a single game was played, as Derrick Rose (I miss pre-ACL injury Rose so much), Justin Holiday, and a pick were traded for Jose Calderon, Jerian Grant, and Robin Lopez in the offseason. Then, Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol were allowed to leave via free agency. Rajon Rondo and Dwayne Wade were signed to multi-year contracts. Tony Snell was traded for Michael Carter-Williams. Huh? At the trade deadline, Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott were traded away for Joffrey Lauvergne, Anthony Morrow, and Cameron Payne. Huh what? The Bulls ended the regular season with a 41-41 record and got the eighth and final playoff spot. Then they went up 2-0 over the number one seeded Boston Celtics!!! Rajon Rondo gets hurt and they proceed to lose the next four. Jimmy Butler gets traded to the Timberwolves for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and Lauri Markkanen around the draft. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2016 Chicago Bulls.
2016 record: 41-41
- Jimmy Butler via trade
- Rajon Rondo waived
- Michael Carter-Williams via free agency
- Nikola Mirotic via free agency (could re-sign with team)
PG – Kris Dunn is battling Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne for the starting point guard position. Please refer to Outlook section. Dunn is a very good on-ball defender and has balled out in Summer League games in the past. With that said, he shoots 37% from the field and 28% from three-land. All you need to know about Jerian Grant is that he’s in a battle with Dunn and is projected to lose. Payne had surgery on his foot. All you need to know about the Bulls point guard position is that Dunn is still battling Payne.
SG – Dwayne Wade exercised his Player Option in the offseason, but it sounds like there’s a good chance he gets bought out. All you need to know about the current situation is this quote from Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype:
“As his June 27 deadline to opt-in to the final year of his contract approached, the veteran shooting guard wanted assurances from the front office that the Bulls would field a competitve team during the 2017-18 season. Wade didn’t want to opt-in and then watch the franchise enter a rebuilding period. Sources close to the situation say that Wade received those assuarances. Jimmy Butler was also given the impression that he wouldn’t be traded, according to league sources.”
Wade opted in, then a few days later Butler was traded. Zach LaVine would be next on the depth chart but he’s recovering from ACL surgery. Justin Holiday would start if Wade or LaVine can’t go. Holiday is nothing special, but if he gets minutes, that’s half the battle.
Zipser is 23 years old, 6′ 8″, and 215 pounds. He shoots 39% from the field and 33% from three-land. He doesn’t do much else. Maybe the ball will attach itself like a magnet to Zipser for an occasional rebound or two. Pondexter is 26 years old and is recovering from left knee surgery. Valentine may be the best option out of the three. That is gross to write. He shot 35% from the field and 35% from three-land last season. The only Valentine I want in my life is Billy Ray.
PF – Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis are the power forwards. Nikola Mirotic may also re-sign, but why would the Bulls do that? Portis has had his moments and some in the universe have clamored to FREE PORTIS! There are all too many moments of F THAT GUY! though. Markkanen is the intriguing player on the whole roster. I had my doubts with him throughout the whole draft process, but I’ve started coming around on him. Granted, much of that has been due to his performance in EuroBasket. He’s been straight balling in that tourney and there are some NBA guys playing. We knew he could shoot, but he’s been displaying nice post moves, driving past defenders, and putting the ball on the floor. The most important aspect for me is that he looks mentally tough. The moments are not too big for him and he’s not backing down to anyone. He’s going to struggle his rookie year, but I don’t see any reason why the Bulls don’t throw him out there and let him develop.
C – Robin Lopez and Cristiano Felicio are the centers. Lopez is solid and really balled out against the Celtics in the playoffs last season. He’s a nice pick later in the draft, but there’s limited upside. Felicio is Brazilian.