The Chicago Bulls are coming off a 2018-19 campaign in which they won just 22 games, but they currently find themselves positioned very well for the future thanks to an impressive stable of young talent.
Maybe Gar Forman and John Paxson aren’t so bad after all?
Bulls fans may not be willing to go that far yet, but you have to admit that they have done a decent job of rebuilding this team.
As a matter of fact, a legitimate argument can be made that Chicago is kind of a sleeper to possibly make the playoffs in the watered-down Eastern Conference.
At the very least, the Bulls should be considerably tougher and could end up being this year’s version of what the Sacramento Kings were this past season.
So, here are four burning questions for the Bulls entering training camp.
4. Can Chandler Hutchison become a reliable 3-and-D guy?
Chandler Hutchison was limited to just 44 games during his rookie campaign due to injury. But during that time, he showed some very solid defensive chops, and at 6-foot-7, he has the length to guard multiple positions.
The problem for Hutchison lies on the offensive end, where he shot just 28.0 percent from 3-point range.
Hutchison did make 35.3 percent of his triples over four collegiate seasons at Boise State, but it was on low volume, as he attempted just 1.8 3-pointers per game.
In order for Hutchison to solidify himself as a building block moving forward, he is going to have to become at least respectable from beyond the arc to develop into a classic 3-and-D wing.
Hopefully, the 23-year-old has been working relentlessly on his jumper this summer, though Summer League didn’t offer much to be optimistic about.
3. What will become of Kris Dunn?
The Bulls not only swung a sign-and-trade deal for Tomas Satoransky during the free-agency period earlier this summer, but they also drafted Coby White with the seventh overall pick of the draft.
So, basically, Kris Dunn’s days in Chicago seem numbered.
Dunn is entering the final year of his rookie deal, so the Bulls will almost certainly not re-sign him next summer, which has led many to believe that Chicago will trade the point guard sometime between now and February.
Trade rumors have been swirling around Dunn all offseason, but as of now, nothing concrete has formed.
It seems doubtful that Dunn will make it through the year with the Bulls, so it would not be shocking if they re-homed him some point before the regular season begins in October.
2. How much will Wendell Carter expand upon his offensive game?
Wendell Carter looks like a stud going forward, but we didn’t get to see a whole lot of him during his rookie year, as a core muscle injury that ultimately required surgery capped him at 44 games.
During the time he was on the floor, Carter was impressive, averaging 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks while showing a ton of promise on the defensive end.
However, offensively, the big man needs some work.
While Carter is skilled, his repertoire is unpolished at the NBA level and wasn’t used correctly in his rookie season. He is just 20 years old, so there is plenty of time for him to improve.
If Carter can take a step forward on that end of the floor this coming season, it will be a major boon to the Bulls’ offense and will make the frontcourt tandem of Carter and Lauri Markkanen that much more lethal.
1. How is Lauri Markkanen’s Health?
Speaking of Markkanen, that brings us to the biggest question on this list: how is the youngster’s health?
Markkanen was shut down in late March due to an elevated heart rate, which is a scary thing to hear no matter how old you are. For a 22-year-old, it is especially concerning.
The Finnish big man was cleared to resume basketball activities back in April, so everything should be just fine, but you can bet that the Bulls will be monitoring him throughout training camp to see how he is faring.
When he is right, Markkanen is outstanding, as he registered 18.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game while shooting 43.0 percent from the floor, 36.1 percent from 3-point range and 87.2 percent from the free-throw line in 2018-19, his second NBA season.
Think of Markkanen as a more athletic version of young Dirk Nowitzki.
Obviously, that is a lofty comparison, and it remains to be seen if Markkanen can ever reach that level of dominance. But in terms of play style, Markkanen does evoke thoughts of young Dirk.
However, in order for Markkanen to ever become a franchise star, he is going to have to remain healthy.