The last time we saw the Chicago Bulls play in a regular season game was over six months ago. At that time, they closed out their 2021-2022 season against the Minnesota Timberwolves. But tomorrow, after an offseason that never seemed to end, the Bulls are back!
Plenty has happened since we last saw the team play in the regular season. For starters, they made a postseason appearance against the Bucks and managed to steal a game to make it a 1-1 series before falling in game 5. Then, of course, came all the offseason moves and news as players worked their way through injury recovery, training camp, and the preseason. With the 2022-2023 season set to begin, here are four storylines to keep your eye on as the Bulls look to start their year off strong!
Can The Newbies Contribute To The Chicago Bulls Season?
The Chicago Bulls have a few fresh faces joining the team after this summer. So, the question remains, how much can these new guys contribute?
We’ll start off with rookie Dalen Terry, a 20-year old guard the Bulls selected with the 18th pick in this year’s draft. Dalen Terry won’t start for the Chicago Bulls this year, nor will he be one of the first guys coming off the bench when the second unit comes in. But, that doesn’t mean he can’t contribute. The way Terry will contribute is by providing energy for the Bulls off the bench, and he’ll help the team even more if he can remain dedicated to developing at the NBA level. Fortunately, putting in the work is something he’s fully prepared to do.
The next newcomer is NBA veteran Goran Dragić, who joined the Bulls at the beginning of August. This year, Dragić enters into his 15th season as a pro. Fifteen years in the NBA is a long time, and it remains to be seen if it will be his last one, but at 36-years old, how much is left in the tank? As diehard Bulls fans, we hope he has a lot left to give. Like Dalen Terry, Dragić won’t start, but he’ll be higher up on rotation for the second unit, and has already shown promising flashes with reserves Alex Caruso and Patrick Williams in the preseason. Even if we get a month or two into the season, and it doesn’t end up looking like Dragić has contributed as much based on his stats, don’t forget that he’s also serving as a mentor and guide to our young players. With all of his experience, even passing on his decade and a half of NBA wisdom onto some of our rising stars is enough of a contribution.
The last newcomer we’ll touch on is Andre Drummond, who joined the Bulls on a two-year deal at the end of June. Drummond, now 29 and entering his 11th season, will serve as backup to Vučević and should contribute heavily to the team’s success. We know he can rebound the ball like it’s nobody’s business, what remains to be seen is what his scoring will look like as a new piece in the Chicago Bulls’ offense.
Will Ayo Fill The Zo Role?
This story seems to be the biggest one for the Bulls as they enter the new league year. With Lonzo Ball out for the foreseeable future, the team has to rely on a new starting point guard. After the rookie season he had, it’s clear why Ayo Dosunmu has the opportunity to be the next man up.
Dosunmu joins a starting lineup of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vučević, and Patrick Williams who was just named a starter this week. In his 77 games played last year, Dosunmu averaged only 8.8 points per game, 3.3 assist, and 2.8 rebounds. While he started for 40 games, also due to Lonzo’s injury, the game plan to keep him at the top of the lineup didn’t pan out in the postseason when Alex Caruso served as the starter against the Bucks.
Ayo has shown flashes of greatness early on in his NBA career thus far, and he certainly has what it takes to fill in for Zo and help the team get by without their starting PG. If Billy Donovan has the patience to stick with him through the ups and downs, he just might get the chance to prove himself in year two.
Vooch Looks To Build On Preseason
Regardless of what you think of his time here, Vučević is set to stay with the Chicago Bulls as the season begins. He’s entering the last year of his contract with the team and could end up as an unrestricted free agent when the season ends. If we could bet on things like trade rumors, we would go all-in on trade rumors involving Vučević that are going to pop up later on in the year. It’s inevitable.
But, if Vučević has anything to say about it, maybe his play will quiet the noise. In the preseason, he averaged 14.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. He was top three on the team in all of those stat categories. As the Chicago Bulls look to take a different offensive approach with less iso-DeMar DeRozan ball, and more balance across the entire system, we’ll end up seeing more Vučević. And maybe, just maybe, he’ll be with us to stay for good.
Featured Image Credit: Chicago Bulls’ Instagram