DRAFT TRADE: Bulls acquire cash considerations in trade with Golden State Warriors for No. 38 pick Jordan Bell.
Areas Of Strength
For all of their hiccups this season, the Bulls played their best basketball to start their first-round series against Boston, grabbing a 2-0 lead. Then Rajon Rondo -- benched, then moved to the second unit in midseason -- showed how valuable he was against his former team when he got hurt (fractured right thumb). Chicago lost four straight. Assuming Dwyane Wade opts in for $23.8 million next season, the Bulls have enough talent and experience to return to the playoffs. Maybe the vets, with Jimmy Butler, even recruit a key free agent to help.
Most of Chicago’s role players are not all that athletic and might never be more than rotation guys. But as long as the Bulls are packing in fans at United Center, it’s hard to envision a true rebuild. That’s why trading Butler, a current All-Star, for future assets is a long, long shot. To make do with what they have, the Bulls need more 3-point shooting and the ability to play faster to suit beleaguered coach Fred Hoiberg’s style.
Two Stats That Matter
12.1 -- Robin Lopez had a solid season in the middle, proving management right in letting Joakim Noah leave for New York at an inflated price. Lopez’s work on the offensive boards helped Chicago tied for the NBA’s top spot in that category with 12.1 per game, leading to 15.1 second-chance points per game, also tied for best in the league.
29 -- No one can accuse the Bulls of being the league’s worst 3-point shooting team, the criticism when they added Wade and Rondo to a bunch already limited from the perimeter. They ranked 29th in 3-point attempts, 28th in 3-pointers made and 24th in 3-point accuracy.
The Way To Go
NBA.com's Draft expert, Scott Howard-Cooper, offers up his suggestions:
The Bulls have an obvious need for shooting, especially three-point shooting, while picking 16th, which puts them in the perfect range for Luke Kennard as an obvious solution. Plus, Dwyane Wade is 35. If Chicago looks power forward instead, T.J. Leaf, John Collins and Harry Giles are candidates.
2016-17 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank)
Offensive: 104.6 (21st)
Defensive: 104.5 (6th)
G: Isaiah Canaan
G: Jerian Grant
G: Cameron Payne
G: Rajon Rondo
G: Denzel Valentine
F: Jimmy Butler
F: Paul Zipser
F/C: Bobby Portis
C: Robin Lopez
G: Michael Carter-Williams (unrestricted)
G: Anthony Morrow (unrestricted)
G: Dwyane Wade (player option)
F: Nikola Mirotic (restricted)
F/C: Joffrey Lauvergne (restricted)
C: Cristiano Felicio (restricted)
Recent Draft History
2016: Denzel Valentie (14); Paul Zipser (48)
2015: Bobby Portis (22)
-- Steve Aschburner