Bulls Season Preview: Still Building, Are Playoffs The Next Step?

The Chicago Bulls kick off their season tonight in Charlotte as most of the league finally gets going. Check out what some of our most devoted hoop-heads have to say about the rebuilding team’s chances this year. Also read our thoughts on the NBA at large in our previous “Starting 5” post.

Are you worried about Wendell Carter Jr.’s longevity?

Sean Terry — Not really. The young fella has a Ben Wallace-like motor with bowling ball shoulders to match. He’ll settle in well this season, look for the questions regarding Carter’s health to be long forgotten by late December. 

Chris Pennant — Some players get injured once or twice in their career. Some guys have lingering problems in one specific area: feet, quads, shoulders. Then there are the players who have bad luck and get hurt everywhere with no seeming pattern. Wendell’s only had two injuries so far, the thumb issue last year and then his ankle and a bone bruise in preseason, but I am a bit concerned. Bulls fans saw a glimpse of what Carter Jr. can do on both ends of the court as a rookie, so it would be a shame if he can’t stay healthy.

Joshua M. Hicks — I am a little concerned, but not panicking. Carter Jr. is still adjusting to the league and going through the growing pains. 

Who will have the most starts between Satoransky, White and Dunn by the end of the season?

JH — It should be Coby White here, as I think he’ll be up to the speed of the NBA by January, but if the Bulls are really trying to make a playoff push, it might be Satoransky. His steadying influence as a playmaker is well-documented from his time in D.C., and the Bulls are much less dysfunctional than that group. If pieces gel and the playoffs are in sight, I think coach Jim Boylen will give Sato the starts and run Coby off the bench as a change of pace.

Kyle Means — I’d like to see White have the most time to showcase his abilities cause he has the most overall abilities of the three. Coby may make the greatest impact by the end of the year, but expect Sato to have the most proper starts — coach Boylen should continue to love his versatility, defensive ability and play-making as a constant for a team still building its identity.

Sidney Brown — Satoransky will hold the fort for White until Coby takes over the starting point guard role in January.

Should the team bring in another wing player? Who would you want most?

KM — Was hoping for Alfonzo McKinnie, but Cleveland just snatched him up (yuck). Iman Shumpert could be fine, I like his experience and it’d be good to see him home. J.R. Smith has a lot of experience as well, but a lot of other mess too.

JH — Yes they should. I would prefer someone who has the ability to hit the open shot while also bringing a defensive presence. Shumpert or J.R. Smith would be good candidates to fit that role. 

CP — Unless you’re either of the LA teams this isn’t a question at all.

A good 2/3 is either the most- or second-most desired position in the NBA (depending on how you see the point guard role) and you can never have too many wings in this era of three-point shooting. JaMychal Green is on my mind after watching last night’s Lakers-Clippers game if the Clippers decide they need more versatility. He’s big, can hit the outside shot and play tough against some of the better wings in the NBA.

Best Bulls chances for All-NBA teams or major awards?

ST — Zach LaVine: All-Star, All-NBA (3rd Team); Coby White: 6th Man of the Year; Kris Dunn and Wendell Carter: NBA All-Defensive (3rd Team).

JH — LaVine can be All-NBA Third Team contender and White can be a candidate for Rookie of the Year depending on his consistency and the team’s success. 

SB — No chance for any major awards for the Bulls.

Will the Bulls make the playoffs/miss the playoffs/win a playoff series? Why?

CP — The East is not quite as top heavy as in previous years. The Heat, Celtics, Pacers and Pistons might not challenge for the championship, but they’re decent teams. The Bulls have a whisper of a bench right now, which is going to be tough on their starting rotation. Unless they can add to their relief corps, it’ll be another spring without the NBA playoffs in Chicago.

JH — The Bulls will miss the playoffs. At best, they’ll make the eighth seed. I like the moves that they made in the off-season, but a lot of teams improved and elevated their status as well. Hard to move up the ladder when everyone else around you get’s better as well, even in the Eastern Conference. 

SB — The Bulls will win 35 games and will miss the playoffs AGAIN.

ST — Yes. The stars finally lineup up for the young squad and the Bulls will land somewhere between the No. 6 to 8th seeds to make it into the playoffs.

Winning a series will largely depend on the match-up, but when the game mucks up in the playoffs the Bulls will have the perfect answer thanks to the grizzled OG Thad Young. Put him in the post and let him earn his paper. 

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