By Richard Kagan
The Chicago Bulls ended the All-Star break losers of nine of 11 games, and hold a 20-37 record. Now, everyone is writing to what degree this team will tank to finish high in the draft lottery to get the best pick possible.
It’s all speculation my friends. No one knows what is going to happen. The Bulls will start David Nwaba and Cristiano Felicio in place of Justin Holiday and Robin Lopez. Expect to see some new players because John Paxson held a press conference and said, the new look is on for “blocks of games.” The rebuild is seriously on in Chicago.
Paxson also emphasized that Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine will see as much action as possible. They’ve only played four games as a unit this season with injuries affecting both LaVine and Dunn.
Who knows if the Bulls will win some games or lose more games? It’s up to the coaching staff and the players. And, the players want to win games. Head Coach Fred Hoiberg has gone on record saying, he knows the players want to go out and give their best playing effort and that is how he is going to coach.
Some fans want them to lose every game so the Bulls will have the best chance to pick no. 1. However they finish, they are going to get a pretty high draft pick, maybe No. 5 – 9. So, if the Bulls miss out on Marvin Bagley from Duke, they will get a very good player down the draft. Remember, the Bulls get another pick in the first round from New Orleans in the Nikola Mirotic trade.
Chicago has played 17-17 after their 3-20 start, that had most Bulls fans concerned. Mirotic played great. And the emergence of Kris Dunn has been revelatory. Lauri Markkanen may not win Rookie of the Year, that honor will more than likely go to Ben Simmons of the 76ers. But Markkanen is a very good player with a lot of skill as he demonstrated over All-Star Weekend. LaVine is rounding into shape and probably the time off was good for him.
It is going to be a new look Bulls squad and a very young team at that.