Bulls preseason predictions

Cooper O'Kelly, Staff Writer

After a losing 2019 campaign, front office changes, and a full offseason the Chicago Bulls are back in action. During this upcoming season the Bulls certainly aren’t going to be title contenders, but things are definitely looking up for the organization and the team. We’re going to be looking into my predictions for the regular season and roster, breaking down the offseason, and maybe even the postseason… Let’s get right into it.

Coming off a losing season full of lots of hardships and struggles, one thing stood out for the Bulls, and that was their front office – but not in a good way. A drastic change was needed for the Bulls, which meant the firing of Gar Forman and John Paxson (the teams’ GM and VP of Basketball Operations). Forman and Paxson, known as GarPax for short, made many bad decisions that lead to distrust and uncertainty in the fanbase. This ended up leading to their ultimate firing and the hiring of Arturas Karnisovas as the new President of Basketball Operations. Karnisovas, along with Marc Eversly as the new GM, filled the roles of GarPax during the offseason and got off to a good start. Much to fans’ delight, the duo almost immediately fired coach Jim Boylen (who had a total record of 39 wins and 84 losses with the Bulls) and replaced him with Billy Donovan. The former Oklahoma City Thunder coach had been to the playoffs four out of the past five seasons, and was certainly an upgrade from Boylen. 

After their changes in the front office, the Bulls got ready for the 2020 draft. Armed with the 4th and 44th overall picks, Chicago was ready to add more young players to their already young and promising core. Patrick Williams, a forward out of Florida State, and Marko Simonivic, a big man from Serbia ended up being their draft selections. The Bulls also picked up Devin Dotson, a guard from Kansas, as an undrafted free agent. After the offseason,Karnisovas, Eversly, and the rookies were ready for a season full of new beginnings.

As I mentioned before, the Bulls have a pretty young team with a lot of potential for the future. Their core is made up of shooting guard Zach LaVine, forward Lauri Markannen, center Wendell Carter Jr, and point guard Coby White who range from ages 20-25. Developing players is something that the Bulls weren’t very good at in the slightest under their previous executives and management, so there should be lots of new opportunities and room to improve for these players and the rest of the roster throughout the season. Don’t get me wrong, there will be improvements from last season, but the Bulls are still far from being serious contenders. LaVine needs to go out and cement himself as a number one option, because while he had a good season last year, many still doubt that he can be a team’s go to guy. If the other young pieces around him develop and LaVine works on his defense, he can be a premier player and the Bulls can emerge as contenders. Markannen is my personal favorite for Most Improved Player this season and that’s a really good sign for the Bulls, as he can be a really solid forward in this league with good coaching. My final projections for the Bulls this season are that they’re going to be a mid-tier team, maybe getting a lottery pick or somewhere in the middle of the pack. However, if a lot of things go right and the team plays at their absolute best the Bulls might be able to sneak into the playoffs.

Once again, the 2020 season isn’t going to be some historic title run for the Bulls, but it is going to be important in different ways. The Bulls will be coming into this season looking to improve and develop their players and, after adding a few more key pieces in the next couple drafts, they look to be a team on the rise in the near future.