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Bulls aim to build on young core in upcoming season

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Graphic by Amanda Huang

Graphic by Amanda Huang

Graphic by Amanda Huang

Anikait Koppaka, Contributing Writer

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Following a dismal season last year, the Chicago Bulls will try to turn things around this year. Despite last year’s disappointing outing, rookie forward Lauri Markkanen and the backcourt consisting of Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine have shown some promise. They will try to build upon last year’s flashes of greatness and cement themselves as players who will make up the core of the Bulls for years to come.

Over the summer, the Bulls drafted center Wendell Carter Jr. with the seventh pick and forward Chandler Hutchinson with the 22nd pick.  Carter is best known for being a physical defender in the paint and perimeter and a decent shooter with good post play, who has a knack for taking advantage of second-chance points. Hutchinson is a solid playmaker and can get to the basket with ease, but his shooting and defense are still questionable. Carter is the more notable of the two as he will be expected to start alongside Markkanen in the frontcourt and help mask Markkanen’s deficiencies on defense. Hutchinson, on the other hand, will most likely be coming off the bench as a role player.

In free agency, the Bulls resigned guard Zach LaVine and acquired forward Jabari Parker. LaVine will look to build chemistry with the rest of the team and continue to improve as a defender this year. Parker is a more of a wild card as he has been injured for a good part of his four-year career but has potential to be a consistent scoring option. It will be hard to evaluate the new additions until they actually play together considering that they are all so young, but there is optimism with the all the talent on this team.

In order to be successful this year, Markkanen will have to continue his remarkable rookie year performance in order to function as the Bulls’ offensive centerpiece. The rest of the team should fill in around him as support. LaVine and Dunn in the backcourt will have to effectively command the offense, with Dunn serving as a go-to scorer from the perimeter and Dunn as a facilitator. Dunn also has to maintain his great defense from last year, when he averaged 1.4 steals. New addition Jabari Parker will also need to be someone the Bulls can rely on for a consistent source of points. Along with this, the bench unit with guards Denzel Valentine, Antonio Blakeney, and forwards Bobby Portis, Justin Holiday, Chandler Hutchison will need to step up.

Unless all of these pieces fall into place, it is unlikely that the Bulls will return to the playoffs this year. The key weakness for the Bulls is their defense as LaVine, Parker, and Markkanen are players that have struggled heavily on that end of the floor throughout their careers. Adding on to this, Markkanen is expected to miss the first month of the season, which will be a big hit to the Bulls’ record during this time period. With this likely slow start and the team’s shortcomings on defense, it will be difficult to recover and have a good enough record to reach the postseason.  Despite these unlikely odds for this year, Bulls fans should continue to be optimistic about this team for future seasons because of the young lineup that has been put together consisting of Markkanen, Dunn, LaVine, and Carter.

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Bulls aim to build on young core in upcoming season