The Northern Light

Starting Five: What are the Chicago Bulls doing?

Carter Landis, Sports Editor

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Before this NBA season started, if I asked you to name the best player on the Chicago Bulls, who would you have said? Zach LaVine? That would be null and void, considering he hasn’t set foot on court in a Bulls uniform yet after last year’s nasty ACL tear. Robin Lopez? This might be the correct answer, and if that is so, you wouldn’t assume the Bulls’ season would be a very exciting one.

And it hasn’t. If you glance over the Bulls by the numbers, nothing really stands out. They boast a 13-22 record, they’re near the bottom of the league in every offensive category, and the defense isn’t up to snuff either.

However, the Bulls are leaps and bounds ahead of where most basketball experts projected they’d be at this point. Bleacher Report in the summer had them finishing with a 20-62 record, with 500-to-1 title odds. Many Bulls fans were prepared to disregard the entire season and just focus on finding a franchise changing player in the 2018 draft.

Now, the mindset has changed for Bulls fans. They still have a top ten pick, but they are closer to the playoffs than they are to the #1 overall pick. They sit five games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Where has the turnaround come from? Could it be the coaching of Fred Hoiberg, the guy whose head Bulls fans were calling for after last season’s tumultuous campaign? Is it the contribution from forward Nikola Mirotic, who took a mean left hook from teammate Bobby Portis before the season started, putting the team’s already shallow chemistry in further jeopardy? Could it be the growth and development of second year point guard Kris Dunn, who turned in a 20 point, 12 rebound, four steal game?

Whatever it may be, the Bulls are proving doubters wrong, winning games, and their young core is thriving together. They might be building something there in Chicago. If they add another top ten pick to pair with their stud rookie Lauri Markkanen, they could be once again a perennial contender in the entire league once LeBron James’s run is over.

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Starting Five: What are the Chicago Bulls doing?