The Chicago Bulls do not have any distinguished player when looking at the roster sheet this season. Jimmy Butler, Rajon Rondo, and Dwyane Wade were the noteworthy players from last season. Their departures result in the team not having anyone with NBA Championship rings or All-Star selections. Another cycle of high player turnover took place for the Bulls.
The Bulls have gone through several distinct eras since the team last won the NBA Championship in 1998. There have been key players that exemplify each era. For example, when Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon led the team that battled the championship winning Detroit Pistons. Also, the Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah led team that tried, but failed to overcome the championship winning Boston Celtics. The Butler era was supposed to come next, but the Bulls have changed course.
A key factor that management considers when rebuilding a team is having the necessary tools to topple the team at the top. In this case, management for the Bulls thought that teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are out of reach. The best strategy for any team is to be near the top or bottom in terms of winning record. Teams with the best records demonstrate a likelihood to win a championship. There is an incentive for management to wait and see if anything significant comes to fruition. On the other hand, teams with the worse records can retool by having early picks in the draft and eventually rise back to relevance. So, teams in the middle of the pack are at risk of being stuck there unless there are key acquisitions or high-quality player development.
The key acquisitions for the Bulls are Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and Lauri Markkanen. There is a need for players to step up and provide leadership. Behind the scenes, player dynamics are not well-known for the remaining players. Whoever steps up to fill that role will have a lot on their plate. The last man standing from any previous era is Nikola Mirotic. Mirotic played with the team when Tom Thibodeau was head coach. He came off the bench to play in the sixth man role. Recently, Mirotic suffered a concussion and broken jaw through a punch from Bobby Portis, his teammate. There is no way to conclude if this event would have taken place with the players that left the team this past summer. Nonetheless, this incident highlights the need for strong leadership from the players not just the coaches or management.
Dunn will have a chance to start at point guard. The playing time will be available to become a better player. Dunn did not get a legitimate chance to demonstrate his skillset with the Minnesota Timberwolves. His ability to effectively shoot and make plays for a season remains a mystery.
LaVine is going to miss the start of the season with an ACL injury. A return from that type of injury usually takes some adjustment period to come back to speed. LaVine is a two-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest Champion. If LaVine retains his athleticism, then he will stand out from the crowd.
Markkanen is a seven-foot player that can shoot outside the paint. Currently, the demand is high in the NBA for tall players that can score a three-point field goal. Markkanen has upside and will get the playing time to develop.
This group of players is young and they still have a lot to learn. Strong player leadership will be a key factor for their success. Go ahead and make a comment about any interesting point.