The Chicago Bulls have improved their roster more than any other team in the NBA. It started last season at the trade deadline when they acquired star center Nikola Vucevic from the Orlando Magic. Now it has continued into this offseason where they have been as active as anyone, adding two all-star caliber players and more. Unfortunately, the Bulls missed out on the NBA playoffs last season but they now look ready to make a huge jump this year.
Chicago Bulls: New Faces
The Chicago Bulls have been very busy this offseason. Overall, they were successful in improving their roster greatly. The two biggest additions are Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan. Along with Vucevic and Zach LaVine, they now have four all-star caliber players in their starting lineup. DeRozan and Ball were two very highly targeted free agents this offseason so it’s impressive that the Bulls were able to land both of them.
DeRozan is a dynamic and versatile offensive player who will contribute defensively as well. In his career, he has per-game averages of 20.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and one steal. His passing and play-making have improved drastically over the past few seasons. He has averaged over five assists per game in each of the last four seasons, including a career-high of 6.9 per game last year with the Spurs. At 32 years old, he is still in the prime of his career and is a huge upgrade for the Bulls.
At only 23 years old, Ball has probably not even reached his peak yet. This is an exciting concept for the Bulls because he is already a very productive player. Through four seasons, his per-game career averages are 11.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 1.5 steals. He has always been an excellent passer and creator, as well as a tough defender, but his scoring skills are still developing.
Encouragingly, he set a new career-high of 14.6 points per game last season with the Pelicans. With the way this Bulls roster is constructed with offensive weapons, he will only need to be the fourth scoring option at best. This will really allow his strength as a distributor and defender to shine.
The young roster of the Bulls gives good reason to be optimistic about their progress. They have promising potential for the future as well as the ability to contribute in a big way presently. Patrick Williams, Coby White, and Tony Bradley are all players under 25 years old that definitely qualify.
In addition, second-year player Devon Dotson and rookie Ayo Dosunmu, who were both absolute superstars at the college level, clearly have the talent to break out at some point. Another solid addition the Bulls made this offseason is the 27-year-old Alex Caruso. He is a hustle player on both ends of the floor that adds great value as a bench piece.
In fact, as a testament to their youth, Vucevic and DeRozan are the only two current players on their entire roster that are 30 or older.
The Bulls are ready to make a huge leap this upcoming season. Last year they finished a disappointing 11th place in the Eastern Conference and missed out on the postseason. The additions of DeRozan and Ball, a full season of Vucevic, the emerging young talent, and the continual growth of their leader in LaVine will all contribute to their success this year.
The way they are built, they will almost definitely be top six, but even have a real chance to crack the top four in the Eastern Conference. It is a greatly positive sign for a team when some of the main contributors from the previous season, such as White and Williams, can now play more of a depth role. Watch out for the Bulls this year while they make the biggest leap in the NBA.