2017 record: 27-55

Key acquisitions:

Key losses:

 

Outlook

Entering last season, most of the focus was on how the Bulls would adapt to the post-Jimmy Butler era. Given the current laugh-a-minute situation in Minnesota, it seems like the return of Lauri Markannen, Zach Lavine, and Kris Dunn has resulted in a big win for the Bulls. The team will be looking for big contributions from all three, as well as their marquee free agent signing of Jabari Parker and first round draft pick Wendell Carter Jr., to build upon a lackluster 27 wins from the previous year and, more importantly, show flashes of progression. The East is now Lebron and DeRozan-less, so the Bulls will be looking towards that 8 seed as a realistic target.

 

Point Guard

Playing the role of primary ball handler in Chicago will be Kris Dunn, who coming off a 43 game season, will be hoping for good fortune in the health department and deliver on the promise that so many Timberwolves fans believed in on draft night a couple of years ago. While on the court, Dunn produced, averaging 13.4 points, 6 assists, 2 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 4.3 rebounds over 29 minutes per game. The downside, however, is the percentages. If you draft Dunn in that 50-70 range, do so knowing that he shot only 43% from the field and 74% from the line (which is even more disappointing when you put into context he only achieved 0.8 treys per game). Like a lot of the PG’s outside of the elite tier, Dunn does have his warts, but is an ideal target for punt percentages teams, given his penchant for picking up the counting stats. Backing up Dunn will be a once highly regarded prospect himself in Cameron Payne, another guard who has had his health issues in recent years. Unless injury hits Dunn (which is a very realistic possibility) leave Payne on the wire, especially as the Bulls will likely put the ball in the hands of Lavine and Antonio Blakeney.

Shooting Guard

Brent’s man-love, Zach Lavine, will be getting the bulk of the workload from the two guard position. The Bulls will be looking for the former dunk winner to be the primary scoring option. After missing a large portion of last year, Lavine fans can be optimistic about his 16.7 points per game at the back end of the season in just 27 minutes. The counting stats around him, though, are not the most impressive. It is realistic to expect a boost in production from Lavine, a year more removed from injury, especially on a team that isn’t plush with a player who is able to take the game away from the opposition, so a projection of 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, a steal, and good free throw percentage is what I expect. The downside are the field goal percentage and high turnovers. Lavine isn’t a big target of mine in drafts but, if healthy, you can do a lot a worse. Maybe the biggest loser on the Bulls roster from last season is Justin Holiday, who not only put up fantasy relevant numbers, but was one of the few durable players that the Bulls had. Holiday averaged 31.5 minutes last year between the two and three, but given the new personnel and a healthier roster, it’s reasonable to expect this to drop significantly, putting him more on the deep league fantasy radar. Another deep league target to consider is Ben Simmons’ former LSU team mate, Antonio Blakeney, who will be worth keeping on the watch list as a very capable offensive player in case the injury bug makes an appearance in Chicago.

Small Forward

Can Jabari Parker play the three? Err yeah, not for me, but that shouldn’t hinder his fantasy value too much unless it keeps him off the court (which again is also a possibility given his half-assed effort this pre season). Given the injury to Markannen, which will likely keep the Finnish star off the court for the first couple of months, Jabari at the 3 talk is all but over. A 23-year-old trapped in the body of a battered 32-year-old, Parker offers upside in the points and field goal percentage categories and will chip in some boards and threes as well. The downside is the lack of defensive stats and that is unlikely to change in Chicago, especially moving further away from the basket on the defensive end. The aforementioned Justin Holiday is likely to be in the mix too for minutes at the three, and might even start there, but to reiterate, I have no interest here unless Lavine goes down with injury. I don’t see any fantasy upside in Chandler Hutchison just yet, so keep him on the waiver wire for now.

Power Forward

All my Lauri Markannen taking big strides forward took a big hit when he went down with injury and will likely miss the first couple of months of the season. This makes “Punch Bob Shit Bloke” (as I heard him referred to by Josh Lloyd on the Locked on NBA podcast) Bobby Portis an attractive late option. It’s more likely Jabari starts at the four and Bobby finds his value on the second unit with impressive per minute averages, but once Markannen is healthy, Portis will be reduced to waiver wire-type role with the usual tantalizing flashes that keep a lot of fantasy owners interested. I am all for drafting Lauri at a discount and stashing him till healthy, as I think he can make an impact during the playoffs, especially if you can draft him in the 75-100 range. Regular season for show. Playoffs for a pro.

Center

And with the 7th pick of the 2018 NBA draft the Chicago Bulls select………….Wendell Carter Jr. out of Duke. WCJ might have been the only person to demonstrate his defensive talents on a Duke team that transitioned to zone defense. You can make an easy argument that Carter Jr makes those around him better. I am looking forward to seeing a Carter Jr/Markannen partnership down the road, but injury and the presence of Robin ‘Sideshow Bob’ Lopez will make it a slower process than some of us wish. Lopez won’t pose a season long threat, and it is likely that after an impressive summer league and solid preseason that the Bulls might already be looking at WCJ as their primary center. Boards/Blocks/FG% are Carter Jr’s calling card without killing you from the line (74%). He won’t be a primary offensive option, but I fully expect, after a few months, that he becomes a nightly double-double threat with a couple of blocks per game to boot. You could do a lot worse than taking a flyer on the big man with some of the best fundamentals from this year’s draft class.

  1. OldMilwaukeePounders says:
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    Hey Craig!

    I was hoping to get your thoughts on Clips rook SGA. I had my 12 team keeper draft last night and came out a little light on assists and am considering adding him or Patty Mills for the time being.

    Since Doc has come out and said SGA is locked in to rotation minutes, do you think it is reasonable to expect 4+ dimes from him?

    Thanks, homie!

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig Bozic says:
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      @OldMilwaukeePounders:

      That might be ambitious out the gate, but as per usual its not unrealistic to expect around that mark second half of the season once the rotation irons itself and he gets a bit more experience. Just temper expectations out the gate for the one and done rookie,abd if Derrick White is available, maybe pick him up and stash on IL as a fallback option

      • OldMilwaukeePounders says:
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        @Craig Bozic: I was considering adding White to stash too, thanks for the ideas. Also, just wanted to say that I really enjoy the podcast and all of the work you all have done. What do you think of the squad overall?

        PG-Curry
        SG-Dipo
        SF-Otto Porter
        PF-Giannis
        C-Dedmon
        G-CP3
        F-John Collins
        U-Mirotic
        U-Gary Harris
        U-Covington
        B-Serge
        B- JJ
        B- Jonathan Isaac

        Thanks again, my man!

        • Craig Bozic

          Craig Bozic says:
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          @OldMilwaukeePounders:
          Appreciate the kind words. The whole team are definately putting in the extra hustle this off season and it’s great to be a part of.

          Absolute mustard, beautiful balance. Not the biggest Otto Porter guy but understand it in 9 cat, and shame about Collins and Dedmon injuries leaving you front court short to start the year,but difficult to find too much fault without nitpicking

          • OldMilwaukeePounders says:
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            @Craig Bozic: Thanks man! Lots of Razz-favorites out there still in Free Willy & Poeltl. Should get some help out of them early at least

  2. WillieStone says:
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    Hey Craig,

    I appreciate your knowledge of b-ball, so I was wondering what you see in M. Monk from a fantasy perspective?
    Thanx & cheers in advance.

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig Bozic says:
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      @WillieStone:

      Monk is a supremely skilled player who is wringky labelled as just a three point shooter he is a way better shooter than he showed last year. His struggles last year were primarily as a result of being undersized and underweight, which led to a transition period in which he wasn’t aggressive driving the lane and wasn’t able to use his athleticism. Back end of season (where he averaged 20 ppg, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 treys on 48% shooting) he found that confidence to drive and take Co tact, abd in the preseason it has opened up gaps for him to facilitate. He is dynamic, a good ball handler and super athletic and in the new uptempo offense even averaging 24 mpg will do fantasy damage. Add to that the uncertainty of Kemba future and the Hornets putting the ball in his hands a ton on the preseason in very very high on monk. I expect a slow six weeks out the gate, as the rotation irons itself out, but from a skill perspective he is right up there among all hornets outside of Kemba. Undersized one and dines often take time to come through, but monk has already shown huge progression and by halfway through the season is a must own in mind, especially in a Borrego system which suites him tremendously

      • WillieStone says:
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        @Craig Bozic:

        Thanx so much for your reply.

        • Craig Bozic

          Craig Bozic says:
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          @WillieStone:

          No worries, apologies for poor typing, was doing so on the move

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