Well, I'm not quite back, but in an effort to extend the intense and exciting momentum from the release of the 2019-20 schedule, here's a summer bonus Ask Sam. Which happens to be filled with a sufficient amount of the expected summer optimism. Hey, still undefeated and all that. The qualifier for your prediction, of course, was we were really sure about taking the over (27.5) last season. But, you know, now we are really, really, really sure. No, really. Last season, obviously, was a dumpster fire on a train wreck that fell off a cliff. Injuries, minor league call-ups, lottery balls, yadda, yadda…nothing to see here, keep moving.
Which is why despite a lot of positive reviews for the Bulls post season moves (Thaddeus Young, Tomas Satoransky, Luke Kornet, Coby White, Daniel Gafford), the predictions have generally been between 25 and 30 wins and somewhere between ninth and 12th. Which could be, though I seriously believe this is a .500 Bulls playoff team. I know, hold off on the Grant Park rally plans. Young and Satoransky are adults in the room, finally, and I believe Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen are on the verge of becoming All-Star players with an improved team.
An intriguing scene I witnessed in Summer League gave me pause and piqued my interest. Several players, including LaVine and Young, came in for the games. Then I heard Kris Dunn would be there, also. I was somewhat surprised considering all the speculation about him being on the outside, likely traded, and so on. But Dunn was especially upbeat and greeted John Paxson like a long lost brother and they appeared to have a friendly chat. And then with, it seems, not much subsequent talk about another transaction. And Satoransy in an interview saying the Bulls didn't tell him he would be a starter. So it's sounding more like Dunn will be with the team. And with what's been from indications a summer of serious work for him, suddenly with the late season acquisition of Otto Porter the Bulls have perhaps as much veteran depth as any team in the Eastern Conference. I frankly don't see, for instance, the Celtics roster being so much better. Or even much. With Wendell Carter Jr. and Dunn, that's two plus defenders. LaVine and Markkanen potentially are plus offensive players. The Bulls could feature a bench with Young, Satoransky, Denzel Valentine, Chandler Hutchison and spark plugs like Shaquille Harrison and Ryan Arcidiacono. Which also gives the rookies a chance to learn and develop. And not have to endure their inconsistencies.
The 76ers, Clippers and Rockets probably don't have much to worry about. But this is looking like a season in which with more parity several teams could surprise. The Bulls have a chance to be one. No, really.