By: Robert Weihofen
As the calendar rolls over to 2018, the Bulls are looking like a completely new team that many thought they would be in 2017. To close out the year, they went 7-3 in their final ten games and now sit at (13-23) overall nearing the midway point of the season. Could this year be the start of something new for the Bulls? Right now, the strangest thing of all is Nikola Mirotic has become the spark the Bulls never thought they had.
Since his return to the lineup, Mirotic is averaging 18.3 PPG and adding in 7.1 RPG. Though the sample size is small, these are way above his career numbers. This can bode well for the Bulls if they can sell on him near the deadline while his stock is high. Some are not holding much to this, as we saw how badly the Bulls Front Office can be with last seasons deadline deal that sent Gibson, McDermott, and a second-round pick to OKC for Cameron Payne. If they can find a home for Mirotic and package in Robin Lopez, they could have the potential to add another First-Round pick in the upcoming draft.
If the Bulls end up selling, which would be the smart thing to do, there could be another drastic losing streak in store like the start of the year. Losing two of their top veteran players would not help the very young Bulls, but some assets for the future would help in the long run of the rebuild. Bulls could shed up to $27 million in cap space, which would be a huge help in their rebuild.
While the Bulls are winning and the young players are looking good, there is also bad that can come out of this. The biggest is they are playing themselves out of a top five pick in a year that looks to be very top heavy with young college stars. For a team that is lacking a star player, they could use a top pick this season. Yes, Zach LaVine could be huge when he comes back from injury, but it is always hard to say how players respond after major knee injuries. The other side that can hurt the Bulls is the Front Office thinking that they do not need this full scale rebuild and can compete for the 8th seed. We do not want that do we?
The team is still in the middle of a rebuild and need to focus on becoming a “New Bulls” in 2018. If they can shake the bad 2017 Bulls, it could be New Year, New Bulls.