The Chicago Bulls have experienced their fair share of adversity in the midst of another rebuilding season.
From early injuries to Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen, to the firing of Fred Hoiberg and subsequent rift between the players and new head coach Jim Boylen and a trade that sent Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker to the Washington Wizards for Otto Porter, there has been no shortage of drama in Chicago in the midst of a 16-44 record.
The Bulls seemed totally stagnated on the offensive end in Boylen's first few weeks, taking too much time to get into their offensive sets (Boylen retained Hoiberg's offensive system) while failing to assert Markkanen in the post.
Lately, however, Chicago's young core seems to have found a rhythm:
The Bulls' are tied with the Trail Blazers for the league's No. 1 offensive rating of 117.8 over their 5-4 stretch. Their net rating in those 9 games is plus-2.8, 12th in NBA.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) February 24, 2019
While Zach LaVine continues to shoulder a bulk of the offensive load and scored a season-high 42 points in Saturday night's 126-116 win over the Boston Celtics, Markkanen has recovered from a woeful start to reassert himself as one of the bright young stars in the league.
In eight games this month, Markkanen is averaging a massive double-double of 26.5 points and 12.5 rebounds with an offensive rating of 127, according to Basketball-Reference.
Some Bulls fans criticized the deal to land Porter given that the team will owe him (at the very least) over $53 million over the next two years, but his presence on the floor seems to have had a marked effect on Markkanen:
Otto Porter Jr. has appeared alongside Lauri Markkanen for 154 minutes. Among all two-man lineups in the East that have played at least 100 minutes together, none have a better offensive rating than the Bulls (123.2) during this time.https://t.co/nOmFscLSw7 #BullsNation
— Bryan Kalbrosky (@BryanKalbrosky) February 24, 2019
There are still question marks. Dunn no longer appears to be in Chicago's future plans, as he has ceded minutes to Ryan Arcidiacano.
But the triumvirate of LaVine, Markkanen and Porter could make the Bulls one of the more exciting offensive teams to watch at the conclusion of the season.