NBA Restart: 2019-20
NBA Restart: 2019-20

2019-20 Season Recap: Chicago Bulls

Steve Aschburner

Steve Aschburner NBA.com

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Jun 5, 2020 2:27 PM ET

Zack LaVine has scored 20-plus points 45 times this season.

The 2019-20 NBA season went on hiatus on March 11 because of  the coronavirus pandemic. The season will return on July 30 and NBA.com's writers are taking an updated look at each of the league's 30 teams.

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Record: 22-43, No. 11 in Eastern Conference

Season summary: Let’s face it, the Bulls’ future essentially started anew on April 13. That’s the day Chicago's outlook changed with the hiring of Arturas Karnisovas as its new executive vice president of basketball operations. The former Denver Nuggets GM is charged with restructuring the front office, maybe the coaching staff and roster too, as a way to fast-track a slow, dubious rebuild (keepers: Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Kris Dunn, Coby White, Daniel Gafford). Some offensive flashes and a knack for generating turnovers were about the only highlights in 65 games.

 
Zach LaVine rang up a career-best 49 points in a November win vs. Charlotte.

Breakout player: He gets criticized for not being the point guard the Bulls thought they were getting when they took him at No. 7 in the 2019 Draft. But Coby White has been a scorer, earning his way into a starting role after a special February. He dropped 30 or more in three straight games and averaged 20.1 points per game that month. On an injury-riddled team, he and Tomas Satoransky were the only two to appear in every game.

 
Coby White showed off his scoring touch in a late February barrage.

Statement win: When the Bulls beat the Clippers, 109-106, at United Center on Dec. 14, it was the second of back-to-back games, an early example of an unexpected Chicago trait: it went 1-8 on the first night of such sets but 7-2 on the second. That’s some sort of statement, right? This one came in spite of earning half as many free throws as LA, which also played without Kawhi Leonard, Pat Beverley and Lou Williams.

Most exciting game: Chicago had blown some early games in losing five of its first seven, but all was on the verge of being forgiven when the Lakers came to town on Nov. 5 and fell behind by 19 to the young upstarts. Alas, a 13-point lead to start the fourth was obliterated by L.A.’s 16-0 run -- a comeback that began with LeBron James and Anthony Davis subbed out. During the collapse, coach Jim Boylen never called timeout and only brought back his starters when it was too late.

Memorable moments: The All-Star weekend was held at United Center this season, don’t cha know? Aside from that, 15 of the Bulls’ 22 victories came against Detroit, Atlanta, Memphis, Washington and Cleveland ... so, no flexing allowed.

Team MVP: LaVine is an imperfect player on an imperfect team -- his per game plus/minus (-3.2) is worse than Chicago’s overall (-3.1) -- but he has been a dangerous scorer (20 points 45 times, and 30 or more 19 times) and is the Bull for whom opponents game-plan.

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Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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