My new host city of Chicago. This sports crazed town has shown me people like me exist. You know, those people who talk sports all day like that’s all that’s going on in the world. One thing I quickly found out, was the Bulls are a big, big deal here; regardless of record. I watched the second half of the season and realized the Bulls aren’t too far from an actual playoff birth. Well, as long as they follow my blueprint. But since they aren’t likely to follow my advice anytime soon, I’ll share it with the people who do. You.
1. Find a front court mate for Lauri Markkanen
Lauri Markkanen is a dynamic young talent. That’s obvious. It’s easy to see a little bit of Dirk as well as some new wave big man in his game. The type that can run the floor, shoot, and rebound. With that said he’s young, and has a ton of upside, but you can see where he’s asked to do the job of two people on some nights. Ideally you would like to stick someone next to him who has the opposite, yet complimentary skill set. Someone who can rebound, block shots, who’s athletic… basically everything Brook Lopez isn’t, but more on that later.
Like most some here in Chicago, I have my sights set on Wendell Carter, Jr. Unlike most young players, Carter does what’s needed. Including rebound. Someone with Carter’s athletic abilities may keep the defense honest, and open up the floor some. Either way, some front court relief for young Markkanen will go a long way.
2. See the potential in the Medium 3 Lavine, Dunn, and Markkanen
Yes the Medium 3 is what I’m calling them. They’re all very young. Very raw.
At the start of the season I’m pretty sure I was one of the few who could see the potential in Kris Dunn. The hard nosed, bulldog of a point guard from Providence. Yes he and his running mate Zack LaVine didn’t have the greatest chemistry together on the court, but it’s not like they had a whole season together to gel.
Zach came back late in the season (only played the last 24 games), Dunn went down after literally making an impact on the floor, then coming back for a handful of times together — which weren’t quite highlight worthy.
Individually you can see signs of what could be out of 3 players on this roster. Lavine, Dunn, and of course Lauri. But as an organization you have to see what you have with these 3 on the floor together. It could be worth it in the long run as far a building goes.
3. Seek a solid 6th man
Ginobili, Crawford, Harden, Valentine? The hope I had in Denzel Valentine coming out of Michigan State has faded a bit. Mainly because he is doing the opposite of what he did in college — firing every time he touches the rock.
At MSU he was a swiss army knife. He rebounded, passed, and scored when needed. Now he just shoots contested threes like it was the play that was drawn up. Much like Will Smith did on that episode of Fresh Prince when he was the star of Bel Air High.
If coach Hoiberg can get Valentine to reinvent himself and be that shot in the arm the Bulls need off the bench when needed, the development of this team, and the road toward relevancy would definitely be quicker.
4. Trade Robin Lopez for shooters
Anyone who’s seven foot tall and averages under 5 rebounds a game (4.5 to be exact) shouldn’t be starting in the NBA. Period. If the Bulls can at least complete number one on this list, it would be no need for Lopez. Hence #4.
They say you can’t teach 7 feet. To me that means someone will likely take him off of Chicago’s hands. Ship him off for some players who sit at the three point line and can actually shot — unlike what actually happens now, and we’re cooking with gas.
5. Turn Zach LaVine lose
This one is involves some moving parts.
First Zack LaVine has to get in the gym. I mean now. I mean as I’m writing this. He has to first refine his offensive game. If you’re going to shoot like he did when he came back from injury, at least be accurate.
Second, the Bulls have to believe he can be the man. I’m assuming the Bulls brass already sort of feel this way, seeing as he was the center piece of what they got back from the Jimmy Butler trade.
Third, If Kris Dunn can be the playmaker he’s shown flashes he could be, and the surrounding cast can play like they have goals and NBA ambitions, Zach will have a break out season. Bet.
My feeling is LeBron has a couple of good years left in him, and the Chicago Bulls could be poised for a push when he’s done.Let’s all check back in a couple of years and see if any of my advice is followed.