The Chicago Bulls are heading into the 20210-22 campaign after a phenomenal offseason. They have been aggressive in surrounding their star guard Zach LaVine since the trade deadline last season.
The first move they made was acquiring All-Star center Nikola Vucevic at the 2021 trade deadline. They continued their chase of key pieces, adding DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso in free agency. This team is vastly improved and still possesses young talent in Coby White, Patrick Williams and Ayo Dosunmu. The Bulls look ready to get back to competing for a playoff spot for the first time since 2017.
With that said, here are four bold predictions for the Bulls for the 2021-22 NBA season.
4. Alex Caruso has a breakout season
During his time with the Los Angeles Lakers, Alex Caruso was one of the most impactful players, showing what he can do and making a difference for the Purple and Gold during the Lakers’ 2020 championship run.
The Bulls signed him to a four-year, $37 million deal (per Spotrac). Now, he looks to have an even more prominent role with Chicago, being the lead guard off the bench as White remains sidelined with injury.
Last season, Caruso averaged 6.4 points per game while shooting 40.1 percent from three His high-level defense and effort will be for the Bulls as they try to get back to the playoffs.
Welcome to Chicago, Alex Caruso!@NBCSChicago | @ACFresh21 pic.twitter.com/wGHvLFzGkT
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) October 6, 2021
3. Bulls finish in the East Top 5
After the Bulls’ offseason moves, they are projected to be contenders in the Eastern Conference. They have looked strong in the preseason, and the team has meshed together.
Of course it won’t be an easy journey as the East is filled with a multitude of contenders. The Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks are obviously favorites, but it is an even playing field after that.
The Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics and the Bulls follow as the next tier of contenders. This was a great offseason for the Heat as they acquired Kyle Lowry, and many forget they were in the NBA Finals just two seasons ago. The Hawks are coming off of a Conference Finals appearance, while the Celtics have made it to the Conference Finals in two of the last four seasons.
While the Bulls haven’t had the same recent playoff success, the core group looks strong. The addition of Ball will help LaVine take his game to another level, with a natural playmaker feeding him the ball. Last season, Ball averaged 14.6 points per game along with 5.7 assists. He also shot a career-high 37.8 percent from behind the arc.
DeRozan should also have a revitalizing campaign as he finally gets back to a winning situation. Last season, DeRozan averaged 21.6 points per game while dishing out a career-high 6.9 assists.
Look for the Bulls to build chemistry early and have a dominant regular season.
2. Bulls win a playoff series
The Bulls haven’t seen much playoff success since Derrick Rose was with the team, and they haven’t made it to the NBA Finals since they had Michael Jordan. Fans have been longing for the Bulls to get back to competing for a title, and they should get a step closer this season.
They now have three All-Star level players in LaVine, DeRozan and Vucevic, all paired with great young talent and role players. Vucevic will be a crucial piece for the Bulls as he allows them to play through a center, which is not the case for every team in this era of basketball.
Last season, Vucevic averaged 23.4 points per game along with 11.7 rebounds. He also shot a tremendous 40 percent from three on 6.3 attempts per game.
ZACH LAVINE. 🔨🔨
This Bulls team is FUN
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) October 6, 2021
1. Zach LaVine emerges as a superstar
Although the Bulls added great pieces, the most important player is still LaVine. The young star made his first All-Star appearance last season, proving to the NBA that he could be a superstar. Lavine is an exceptional scorer as he can score at any level. Having Ball and DeRozan as playmakers will only add to Lavine’s success as a scorer.
Last season, LaVine averaged 27.4 points per game while shooting a career-high 41.9 percent from three. His talent is undeniable, but his career could take off with the Bulls finally surrounding him with the right pieces.
Look for LaVine to have a career season and lead the Bulls into the playoffs.
Bulls fans have a lot to be excited about as the NBA heads into the 2021-22 season. They have a talented team that should not only make the playoffs, but also do some major damage when they actually get there. Just don’t write off the Chicago franchise early.