After a typhoon of free agent signings and other hectic transactions around the NBA, the Chicago Bulls are ready to prove their doubters wrong in the upcoming season.
Starting with the draft
They are coming off a disappointing season as they finished 13th in the Eastern Conference. The front office made some great acquisitions in the offseason. With pick No. 7 in the 2018 NBA Draft, Chicago selected Wendell Carter Jr. He’s a center from Duke who averaged 13.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game during his college career. Carter Jr. is listed at 6-foot-10 and 259 pounds.
With pick No. 22, Chicago selected Chandler Hutchinson. He’s a small forward from Boise State who averaged 20 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. Hutchinson is listed at 6-foot-7 and 196 pounds.
Free agency splashes
During the summer, Zach LaVine signed an offer sheet with the Sacramento Kings leaving Chicago with 48 hours to match the offer in order to keep LaVine. The front office is confident in LaVine’s abilities. They signed him to a four-year, $78 million dollar extension according to Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson.
Chicago made another splash in free agency by signing the hometown star, Jabari Parker. He was with the Milwaukee Bucks for the first four years of his career. He is coming home on a two-year, $40 million dollar deal according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. There are a few more unfamiliar faces joining this year’s roster. Bulls fans will become accustomed to them as the season progresses.
Bad news but a better chance
Chicago received bad news regarding Lauri Markkanen. The Athletic’s Shams Charania noted on Twitter that Markkanen will be missing up to two months due to a high grade right elbow sprain. Markkanen is the fastest rookie to drain 100 3-pointers in a single season. He is also the first rookie in Bulls history to post at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a single season. His production will be missed, but at least his injury isn’t too severe.
With Lebron James heading to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Eastern Conference is wide open for success. All the teams have talented rosters and there will be some great battles for the eight playoff seeds. On paper, the Boston Celtics are the scariest team in the conference.
The injury bug removed stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward from the equation of Boston’s success last year. The loss of their stars didn’t deter Boston from making it to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season where they lost to James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. They are poised to do big things this season, and Chicago is more than capable of competing against them.
Chicago probably won’t be competing for the NBA championship, but they can definitely make some noise in the playoffs. The Golden State Warriors now have five all-stars in their starting lineup. They will probably remain the top team of the league for a couple more years. At the rate the young Bulls are developing, Chicago could be the premiere team in the next few years.
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