Which players on the Bulls roster will be a part of their regular rotation, and what will their roles be?
PG Alex Caruso
SG Zach LaVine
SF DeMar DeRozan
PF Patrick Williams
C Nikola Vucevic
DEEP BENCH – VETERANS
DEEP BENCH – DEVELOPING YOUTH
LIKELY TO BE WAIVED
With Lonzo Ball out indefinitely with an injured knee, the Bulls have three candidates for the starting point guard position. Alex Caruso gives the team a veteran presence who provides tenacious defense and who just always seems to make big plays in key moments. Caruso is one of those players who irritates other teams by being a pest, always trying to snake the ball away or draw a charge. Another option is 2nd-year pro Ayo Dosunmu, who surprised everyone last year as a rookie 2nd round pick who not only made the team but started 40 games as the Bulls were hit by injuries and became a productive member of the rotation. Dosunmu was an excellent defender and an efficient shooter. Either of these players make sense as a complement to the Bulls’ three best players, DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Nikola Vucevic, all of whom are most impactful at the offensive end. But if the Bulls do want to go into full attack mode on offense, they could go with Coby White and the scoring and playmaking that the quick young point guard provides.
The team wants (and expects) Patrick Williams to seize the starting power forward role and commit to defending the biggest scoring threats. But Williams is still only 21 years old, missed most of last year, and can be inconsistent at times. The team could go with veteran Javonte Green instead. Green doesn’t have Williams’ ceiling, but he is more consistent and knows his role.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
DeMar DeRozan’s productivity and leadership last season were a huge surprise, and culminated in his 3rd all-NBA selection. Derozan is the master of the midrange game; his size allows him to get to the spots he wants to and convert at a high rate. It’s unclear, however, if he’ll be able to maintain the high level of play that he exhibited last year. It would not be unreasonable at his age to see some decline, and that would certainly make it more difficult for the Bulls to win as many games as they did last year.
The Bulls filled out their bench by signing veterans Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond. The best days for both players are behind them. Dragic has been productive before in a backup role and Drummmond finally seems to have accepted his fate coming off the bench, so it’s possible that they’ll both be productive in Chicago. If they’re not, it will put a lot of pressure on DeRrozan and LaVine to build up leads and to possibly play extended minutes.
The Bulls also have a roster imbalance. They just have too many guards (Caruso, Dosunmu, White, Dragic, and Ball) but very little size and depth in the frontcourt. Don’t be surprised to see a midseason trade, particularly if the Bulls struggle out of the gate.