The Bulls missed the playoffs for the fourth straight season. They made the big trade for Nikola Vucevic at the deadline. This was supposed to catapult them into the play-in games and make them a tough first-round matchup. This obviously did not happen and the Bulls are still looking from the outside in on the playoff picture. They are without their upcoming first-round pick unless the unlikely happens and it lands within the top four. Due to this, the team can only really look to free agency to help better position themselves for this upcoming season.
Lonzo Ball to the Chicago Bulls has been rumored for some time now. At the trade deadline this past season it seemed like Ball would be finding a new home. The Bulls were one of the teams largely mentioned in these rumors. The rumors did not just start at the deadline though. Back when he was first entering the league, his father Lavar mentioned Chicago as a city he would love Lonzo to play in due to the large market.
All the rumors aside, Ball would be the perfect fit for the Bulls. His biggest strength, his playmaking, is what the team needs the most. The intelligence and passing IQ has been on display ever since his high school days. The Bulls lack a player that can effectively set up his teammates. Both Coby White and Zach LaVine are scoring guards who opt to make plays for their teammates second. Ball would bring his up-tempo style to the Bulls where he could make plays on the fast break with the Bulls’ great athletes like LaVine and Patrick Williams.
An underrated part of his game that would also fill a major hole for the team is his defense. The Bulls lack defenders in the backcourt. The aforementioned LaVine and White are both talented offensive threats but are at best mediocre defensively. Ball has flown under the radar defensively but actually grades out as one of the better guard defenders in the league. This is due to his great length and uncanny anticipation. Ball would fill many needs for the Chicago starting lineup. This would send White to the bench, making him one of the more talented sixth men in the league.
The formal sixth overall pick, Nerlens Noel, has been labeled a bust by many in his career. While he did not live up to expectations, he has shown flashes of why he was drafted so high during this past season. Nerlens is a monster defender. He is averaging 2.2 blocks per game on only 24.8 minutes per game. Repeatedly, he has shown the ability to switch onto guards in space, and effectively cover pick and rolls. He does a little bit of everything on the defensive side of the ball.
Noel is fairly limited when it comes to offense, but he has proven to be an effective screen setter and roller to the basket. He is shooing 61.4% from the field due to his ability to cut and finish off offensive rebounds. He is never going to be a scoring option for any team, but his ability to roll to the basket draws defenders in, leaving shooters open on the wings.
Daniel Theis is a free agent this offseason. In his 28 games with the Bulls after the deadline, he played pretty well and it seems as though they like him. If they do not bring him back though, Nerlens is the perfect fit for the Bulls to run backup center. He is almost the complete opposite player as Vucevic. It would be smart to have different playstyles coming from their two centers.
The Bulls do not have the money to make a move on some of the higher-profile free agents, but they do have some flexibility to add some solid contributors. The common theme is the Bulls need to add some defenders. If the trade deadline is any indication, the new front office is not afraid of making moves. While they are somewhat limited financially, do not be surprised if there are a few new faces on the roster next season.