The Chicago Bulls have wrapped another abysmal 2022-2023 campaign. Letting go of young assets and future draft picks was the formula for the Bulls', as they acquired veterans like DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic to complement their franchise cornerstone, Zach LaVine. It has been a disaster for the organization, as they have yet to get past the first round with the current team they have built.
There was a stretch last season wherein DeRozan was receiving recognization as an MVP candidate because the Bulls were one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. However, they tapered down after the All-Star break and plummeted to sixth in the conference. This year was no better as they barely squeaked into the play-in tournament as the 10th seed despite their star-studded roster.
The squad has a plethora of problems to eradicate, but it stems from the three main issues that will be discussed in this article.
Bulls' outside shooting
Chicago ranked last in three-pointers made and three-pointers attempted this year. In terms of percentage, they were ranked 16th at a subpar 36.1%. For a team built around two stellar slashers in DeRozan and LaVine, reliable outside shooters must be able to space the floor at a high level.
From their current roster, there are only two players who have tallied over 1.5 makes a night, and they are Zach LaVine and Coby White. For defenses constructing a game plan against the Bulls, it would be easier to focus mainly on LaVine and DeRozan and crowd the paint for most of the contest. For Chicago to become more of a lethal team, they will need individuals like Gary Trent Jr. or Kyle Kuzma.
The absence of Lonzo Ball for over a year has been a disappointing sight for Chicago fans, mainly because his contract is guaranteed until 2025. When Ball and Caruso were the catalysts of Chicago's backcourt, opposing guards had nightmares setting up their offense and manufacturing clear looks.
There's no time to dwell on the significant contributions of Ball, but it is imperative to have an above-average floor general to settle the offense of the Bulls. Aside from Ball, the last brilliant point guard they have at their disposal was Rajon Rondo in the 2017 season. That has been a long time for Chicago, and the front office must realize the immense importance of having an elite point guard alongside their leading scorers.
Versatile interior presence
Chicago fans might wonder why the big man position is mentioned in this piece, but the essential facet to consider is their lack of versatility. Yes, the Bulls have Nikola Vucevic and Andre Drummond, who gobbles rebounds every game. The main issue is their lateral quickness and ability to match up with the league's more agile and athletic big men.
When their opponents downsize to a smaller lineup, Chicago is not free to do so because they will be forced to put Patrick Williams or Derrick Jones Jr. at the 5. With that move, they will sacrifice their height, making them lose the rebounding battle. However, the limited number of options in the free agency class for 2023 is another major hurdle for the Bulls.
If Draymond Green does not decide to exercise his player option for 2024, Chicago must be active in prying him to the Windy City. Another option could be Jerami Grant, who has previously been rumored to play for the Bulls, or Brook Lopez, an unrestricted free agent.