Twenty-nine different opposing NBA teams will walk through the doors of Target Center to play the Wolves this season, and we want you to know as much as you can about all of them. What’s the order of the teams we’re previewing? It’s actually completely random! Now, a team that has an intriguing young core, but what’s its ceiling?
Notable Players Acquired: Tomas Satoransky (free agency), Coby White (draft), Thaddeus Young (free agency)
Notable Players Lost: Robin Lopez (free agency), JaKarr Sampson (free agency)
What Went Down In 2018-19?
The Bulls fired coach Fred Hoiberg after just 24 games and replaced him with Jim Boylen.
The Bulls weren’t particularly good on either side of the court, ranking 29th in offensive rating and 25th in defensive rating. That led to a 22-60 record, the team’s worst season since 2001-02 when Brad Miller led the team with 4.4 win shares. Aww, memories!
The Jabari Parker experiment did the opposite of work and that ended up with Parker and Bobby Porter being traded to the Wizards for Otto Porter Jr.
The Bulls should be excited about what Porter can bring this team. Nobody really talked about it, but in 15 games with the Bulls, Porter averaged 17.5 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 48.3 percent from the field and 48.8 percent from the 3-point line. A small sample size, sure, but certainly something to build on.
A few other tidbits:
Former Wolves guard and all-around good guy Zach LaVine was solid, averaging a career-high 23.7 points per game while shooting 37.4 percent from deep. If he can continue to develop, and improve on defense, his ceiling will continue to rise.
Wendell Carter Jr. is a guy who I thought would have a better career than Marvin Bagley. After their rookie seasons, it’s not looking good for me, but Carter played in just 44 games. We’ll have more on what Carter’s role will be with this team in the next section. He certainly looks like an NBA player for a long time, at the very least.
After missing the first 30 games or so of the season with a shoulder injury, Lauri Markkanen was even better in season No. 2, averaging 18.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game while shooting 36.1 percent from the 3-point line.
The Offseason Was . . .
Someone confusing. The team’s biggest signing was Thaddeus Young. While Young if fine and dandy, he also plays the same position as Carter and Markkanen. Is it really worth taking minutes from those two to give to Young, who is probably on the decline? I’m not sure. That signing made me smh a little bit.
In the draft, the Bulls selected North Carolina point guard Coby White with the seventh-overall pick. The Bulls need strong point guard play, and they are hoping the speedy White can fill that role. White struggled someone in Summer League, but that’s not uncommon for rookie point guards. This is a step in the right direction, committing a high pick to a point guard.
The Big Question
How do these pieces mesh together?
Young talent is a great thing, and what rebuilding teams want. Collect talented assets. But there’s some overlap with this talent. I’m really curious to see how minutes are distributed, and who emerges as the leader on and off the court for this team.
This Writer’s Prediction
In a muddled Eastern Conference, playoffs should be the goal, but it will be another lottery pick for the Bulls.
Describe This Team In 15 Words Or Less
One of these players has to emerge as an All-Star caliber player, right?