By: Thomas Gibbons
The Bulls chose a path this summer. They traded their superstar Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timerbwolves, hitting the rebuild button.
Many, myself included, did not want to see Jimmy Butler go. But the Bulls front office wanted change and I am in agreement with Gar Forman and John Paxson because they finally picked a path. These past few seasons of Chicago basketball have been mediocre, disappointing, and hard to watch.
But now, the Bulls are on a path to rebuilding their roster in hopes to be title contenders in the near future. While basketball at the United Center will be still hard to find entertaining, there’s a bit of hope the Bulls can string some drafts together, score big in free agency, and bring winning basketball back to Chicago.
ESPN released their projected records for the upcoming 2017-18 season on Thursday. To no surprise, the Golden State Warriors have the highest projected win total at 62.1. Some other notable records are the Timberwolves at 50.1, Boston Celtics at 49.4, good for 1st in the East ahead of the Cavilers at 49.2.
The Chicago Bulls are projected to have an abysmal 28.5 wins, only the Sacramento Kings (27.4), and the Atlanta Hawks (27) having lower win totals. And to this, you should not be surprised.
Before you opened the article, your expectations should have been really low. What do you expect from a rebuilding team, and only one All-star on the roster (Dwyane Wade).
Currently, the Bulls have 12 players 25 years old or younger. While that is what you want to see for a team going into a rebuild, I can only say that one player has proven they are going to be a star in the NBA and that is Zach Lavine. Despite his recent setback of an ACL injury, it shows in the numbers that he has improved his game every season over his three year career with the arrow still pointing up.
For everyone else, their status is unknown. Second year players Paul Zipser, Denzel Valentine, and Kris Dunn will see their minutes increased and it’s up to them to take advantage of them and show they should be apart of the rebuild. Bobby Portis and Cristiano Felicio have shown flashes of who they can, but it must come at a more consistent level. And for Cameron Payne and Jerian Grant, they are battling for a roster spot and backup to Dunn.
Heck, I would even say the Bulls could win less that 28 games. With a few new faces and players going to be in bigger roles, there will be a adjustment period.
And not to mention Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, who has not had outlandish success so far in Chicago, will be put to a new test. His first two seasons Hoiberg was going for the playoffs, being told to play the younger players while trying to compete for the post-season. That is not an easy task, something almost impossible to do in today’s NBA.
Will Bulls fans and the rest of the NBA get to see Hoiberg’s offense on display now? Maybe. One of the biggest reasons the Bulls hired the Iowa State coach was his offensive scheme, something that led his Cyclones to 22nd in the country in his final year at Iowa St.
Now with a very young roster, Hoiberg will have his chance to execute his fast-pace, transition offense. It was hard for the Bulls to play fast the last couple years with veterans with a lot of miles on them. This year will be Hoiberg’s best shot to not only save his job, but to show his offense best suits a young team, something he finally has received.
Keep expectations low. While there are a few young players like Lauri Markkanen, and Zach LaVine who will be entertaining to watch and develop, the win loss record will not be something the Bulls will want to hang their hat on. The rebuild has begun and as Bulls fans, it’s time to #EmbraceTheRebuild.