When I look back at the Chicago Bulls and all the decisions they have made whether it’s free-agency or through the draft I’ve often been caught out of left-field by several of them. Bringing over DeMar DeRozan after Gregg Poppovich made him seem like he was headed for a steep decline definitely helped raise an eyebrow and picking up Patrick Williams with the 4th overall pick was nothing no one during the draft ever spoke out. Patrick Williams had to be the biggest mystery I had ever seen in my 24-25 years of watching NBA basketball because he carried absolutely no hype with him and he was just kind of a guy you looked at and thought well physically he is ready to go but just how good can he be at the NBA level and what would his ceiling be. His name was even brought up with the likes of a Kawhi Leonard which definitely made following him his very first season at least something to look forward to but so far he’s been on the sidelines much more than on the hardwood and he’s had his fair share of games where you could see the flashes of a 2014 Kawhi Leonard but he can’t seem to put it all together even after getting some playoff reps against Giannis Antetokoumpo in the first round last season.
I once wrote that Patrick Williams would be the key to anything Bulls do going forward because I kind of already knew what to expect from DeMar DeRozan and Zach Lavine. Lonzo Ball? He’s just collecting his $20 million watching DeMar and Zach attempt to make up for his absence, nothing against Lonzo Ball I actually thought he’d become a top 5 point guard in the NBA by now and be racking up championships with LeBron James in Los Angeles well at least that’s what I thought when I spent $70 dollars on a replica jersey of Lonzo Ball but I guess I was wrong. Everyone expected Lonzo Ball to come to Chicago and transform the Bulls into Steve Nash’s Phoenix Suns but let’s face it Lonzo Ball just isn’t a great floor-general and never will be, if he could actually play like Steve Nash the Chicago Bulls wouldn’t be the pretenders they currently are in the Eastern Conference. But enough about Lonzo Ball because the player that should be taking his game up another notch is Zach Lavine who was handed a massive 5-year $215 million dollar extension and is playing more at a $80-90 million dollar level at the moment.
Zach Lavine as opposed to teammate Patrick Williams has received a ton of hype and then some. He is a former Slam Dunk Contest Champion and we’ve heard it all from him being the James Harden of the Timberwolves former Big 3 of Karl Anthony-Towns-Andrew Wiggins-Zach Lavine duo to being billed the next Kobe Bryant being that he has had a similar career trajectory to the former Lakers legend. Everyone thought him taking on a bigger role in Chicago while escaping the shadow of Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns in Minnesota was going to lead to multiple scoring titles and a hall-of-fame worthy tenure in Chicago which has certainly not been the case so far and sure there is still hope he can pull through as he is only 27 years old but even if he were to play at an elite level and like one of the top 5 players in the game how much of a difference would that really make considering what he has around him at the moment? Last year we heard it being echoed around how DeMar DeRozan and Zach Lavine could quite possibly be the best duo in the NBA and that’s something you’d have an extremely hard time selling to someone who has followed them both through their respective careers.
I heard it all when head coach Billy Donovan made comments about a Bulls turnaround having to be spearheaded by DeMar DeRozan,Zach Lavine,and Nikola Vucevic. That is just utter nonsense considering the level Giannis Antetokoumpo,Kevin Durant,and Joel Embiid are all playing at at the moment, that is leaving out Dejounte Murray who is playing the best basketball of his career in Atlanta and I would take the Hawks in a 7-game series with money on the line over the Bulls just because they make more sense as a team have a better personnel and also aren’t hit by the injury bug like Chicago. I haven’t brought up Alex Caruso who I saw play a big part in the Lakers winning the 2020 NBA Championship in The Bubble and helped close out the Miami Heat Game 6 with some of the best on and off ball defense you could ever wish for. Alex Caruso goes down as another odd signing made by Chicago not just because I expected him to re-sign with the Lakers but also because I just didn’t see how he would fit in to what Chicago was building.
As of right now the Chicago Bulls are sitting at 6-10 which is good for 12th in the Eastern Conference at the moment and would land them in the NBA Play-in Tournament if the playoffs were to start right now, not a good position at all for the Bulls whom would be tasked to deal with Giannis,Embiid,or Durant 3 players who could single handedly take them out just off being better than anyone the Bulls could throw at them. Sorry Bulls fans your only hope is if Zach Lavine researches Kobe Bryant and realize he was not only great because he could score 40-60 points any given night but because he could also play All-NBA defense which is an area of Zach Lavine’s game which needs major improvement. I’m glad DeMar has overcame his depression problems but we often forget he is pushing 35 and won’t be getting any faster or stronger as the backend of his career approaches much like it is quickly arriving for long-time running mate and best-friend Kyle Lowry in Miami. So what’s the solution in Chicago? Let DeRozan and Lavine light up the scoreboards the rest of the way and give Bulls fans hope it’s translate to playoff success? No thanks I’d rather tank for Victor Wembanyama.