Bulls Lead

2018 Offseason Team Needs: Chicago Bulls

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For the second time in three seasons, the Bulls missed out on making the playoffs. But that was to be expected considering the organization’s decision to go into rebuilding mode. In Chicago’s first post-Jimmy Butler season, Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen were the stars of a team that really only had Robin Lopez as a veteran presence. Even so, the Bulls are in a position where, regardless of who they already have or will re-sign, they could use all the talent they can get. That said, what Chicago does this offseason will depend on whom it selects in the draft.

Bulls’ Needs/Position Breakdown

1: POINT GUARD

With Kris Dunn at the helm and Cameron Payne and Jerian Grant backing him up, it’s possible the Bulls will leave their point guard lineup alone. Dunn did a good job in his first season in Chicago, starting most of the games he played in, and is poised to be an integral part of the rebuilding process. Payne sat out most of the season with a foot injury but did respectably in the final 25 games of the season. Grant did well, too, but was on the trade block before getting benched for tanking efforts only to play again because of league warnings. But it wouldn’t hurt the Bulls to try to upgrade the point guard position by taking one in the draft.

Collin Sexton and Trae Young are options for Chicago should they decide to get another floor general. Young, in particular, could have a good chance of landing on the Bulls. He recently worked out for them and, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell, said it was “one of his best workouts.” Young can score and has good shooting range, which the Bulls could use. But his size is a concern, as he’s only 6-foot-2 and weighs 180 pounds.

2: SHOOTING GUARD

The Bulls will likely be pretty set at this spot, as they’re likely to match any offer for restricted free agents Zach LaVine and David Nwaba. LaVine’s another important part of the rebuild, and Nwaba was a surprisingly key player the Bulls should want to keep. Aside from them, there’s Justin Holiday, who’s a serviceable player. Despite that, Chicago could take Mikal Bridges in the draft, and he could actually help at either wing position. He has good size at 6-foot-7 and 210 pounds, and his three-point shooting and defensive abilities would make him a good addition.

3: SMALL FORWARD

The Bulls are severely lacking depth in this position. All they have are Denzel Valentine and Paul Zipser. Valentine has become a proven role player with the hopes of gaining a larger role. Zipser, on the other hand, hasn’t been much of an asset to them, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they trade him.

Again, Bridges, if drafted by Chicago, could help out at this position. But another name that keeps coming up is Michael Porter Jr. Porter is young, athletic and has potential, but his injury history is concerning. He even canceled his second pro day workout because of hip spasms; per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls were to going to attend the workout, so Porter’s draft stock may have taken a hit.

4: POWER FORWARD

Lauri Markkanen is Chicago’s go-to guy in terms of playing the four and another core player for the rebuild, and Bobby Portis is there to back him up. Portis had a breakout season and is valued by his teammates; he was selected as the Bulls’ winner for “The NBPA Backbone Award” in the National Basketball Players Association’s Players’ Voice Awards. Noah Vonleh was also on last season’s team and was a pleasant surprise. He joined the Bulls at the trade deadline and played well in the 21 games he saw minutes in, averaging 6.9 points and 6.9 rebounds in 19.0 minutes. Whether the Bulls bring back Vonleh, who’ll be a restricted free agent, is questionable. Regardless of that, it’d be ideal to get a third option.

In the draft, the Bulls could go after Jaren Jackson Jr. and Wendell Carter Jr., both of whom can help at center, too. Jackson has a good all-around game but could become physically stronger. Carter has good size and has been likened to Al Horford.

5: CENTER

The Bulls could definitely use some upgrades here, as they have Robin Lopez, Cristiano Felicio and Omer Asik. Lopez is a solid, respectable veteran, which every team needs. Felicio was decent last season but hasn’t produced in the way one wants one of someone on a four-year, $32 million contract. Meanwhile, Asik isn’t a part of the Bulls’ future. He hasn’t had a productive season since 2014-15 despite a hefty contract. Asik was traded to Chicago at the deadline as part of the Nikola Mirotic deal yet played in just four games despite tanking efforts. As such, some youth and athleticism at this position would be helpful, and the Bulls could get that in the draft.

Texas big man Mohamed Bamba had a private workout for the Bulls early this month and, according to the Chicago Tribune, said he could see himself in Chicago. His 7-foot-9-inch wingspan and 9-foot-6-inch standing reach make him a tremendous defender. He has potential offensively as well but could use some bulking up for his 7-foot, 225-pound frame to better compete with NBA players.

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About Ashley Wijangco

Ashley is a writer based in the Chicago suburbs who has over seven years of sports writing experience. She writes about the Bulls and general NBA content for TLSM. Twitter: @wijangco12

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