Chicago Bulls bold predictions for 2022-23

Chicago Bulls alternate headlines in 2022-23

What if the 2000 Western Conference Finals’ all-time call of “Kobe to Shaq” was actually “Smith to Wallace?” What if Ray Allen’s iconic three from the short corner in Game Six of the 2013 NBA Finals clanged off the front of the rim? What if “Tragic Johnson” never overcame his mental lapse in Game Two of the 1984 Finals, leaving Stephen Curry to later become the undisputed greatest point guard of all time?

An alternate universe is defined as “a hypothetical self-contained plane of existence, co-existing with one’s own”; so for every major event that occurs, there are alternate universes in which entirely different storylines unfold, thus creating worlds in which basketball lore is remembered in unfathomably distinct ways.

So, with all of the noise surrounding the Chicago Bulls upcoming season, these are the best alternate headlines that could take shape.

DeMar DeRozan becomes a three-point sniper

It’s not as if DeRozan cannot shoot— much the opposite is true. The Bulls’ leading scorer is universally regarded as a master of the mid-range, alongside the likes of Chris Paul and Kevin Durant, and has shot charts to back it up; however, he has yet to extend his soft touch beyond the three-point line, despite the pattern of play moving further away from the basket (picture from December 2021).

If there is one tangible that DeRozan has shown, it is improvement, as he outperformed his career three-point average of just 28.1% with a 35.2% standard last season, while also making 1.43 times as many triples as he did in his three seasons with the San Antonio Spurs. If he can effectively add the long ball to his repertoire, the Bulls’ offense will become much more dynamic, fast-paced, and spacious, which will also lead to more opportunities for DeRozan’s teammates.

Ayo Dosunmu wins the Sixth Man of the Year award

A University of Illinois product, Dosunmu fell to the Bulls with the 38th overall pick in last year’s draft despite being one of the more noteworthy figures in college ball. He only averaged 11 minutes per game during the first month of the season but was eventually forced into the starting lineup for 40 games as the team dealt with various injuries and COVID-related absences, accelerating his adjustment to the professional game, and also his growth.

A long 6-foot-4 guard, Dosunmu has the type of slashing ability combined with a soft touch that makes him a nightmare to defend, especially when allowed to lead the second unit and go against backups. On top of that, he has proven to be a legit playmaker, most easily seen during a seven-game stretch in February when he averaged 9.5 assists per game (including a 14-assist night against the Indiana Pacers). The Bulls’ backup guard is tied for the 34th-best odds of winning 6MOY next year, so the bettors should place their deposits before it’s too late.

Kevin Durant lands in Chicago

The buzz around the league has been centered on Durant landing in Miami or Phoenix, among other less-likely locations, but no consideration seems to have been given to the Bulls making a late play for the two-time champ. Chicago has five of its first-round draft picks through 2029 and a 2023 first from the Portland Trail Blazers it could use as capital in a trade, as well as attractive young assets like Patrick Williams, Coby White, and the afore-mentioned Dosunmu. Brooklyn would likely also demand one of LaVine or DeRozan, but this is where it really gets crazy…

It would take a lot of t-crossing and i-dotting, but there is a world in which Myles Turner, Buddy Hield, and the Bulls’ young pieces end up in Brooklyn, while Nikola Vucevic and a throw-in from the Nets head to Indiana, and Durant lands in a brand-new red jersey. If that were the case, the Bulls would have a three-headed monster of DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Kevin Durant, with valuable pieces like Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Andre Drummond, and Goran Dragic still in the rotation. They would need to be active in the buyout market, but their title odds would soar through the roof.

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