The Chicago Bulls made it to the playoffs for the first time since the 2016-17 season. However, their playoff run didn’t last long as the Milwaukee Bucks eliminated them in the first round in five games.
The Bulls were aggressive last offseason, acquiring DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso, who all played significant roles. DeRozan had his best season in a while, averaging 27.9 points per game along with 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists. He shot 50.4 percent from the field and 35.2 percent from three. Chicago has a nice core to build on but has some work to do.
Chicago’s top priority this offseason needs to be resigning star guard Zach LaVine. LaVine is drawing interest from multiple teams in free agency, which will make it competitive for the Bulls to get him back.
Once they figure out LaVine’s situation, they can focus on building the rest of the roster out. With that said, here are the three biggest needs for the Bulls entering the 2022 NBA Draft.
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Bulls Biggest Needs
3. Backup forward
One of the weaknesses for the Bulls this season was their lack of depth. They have a good amount of guards but could use more depth at forward. Chicago could upgrade this through the draft, as they have the 18th overall pick. A trade is possible but highly unlikely, leaving free agency as the other option.
This free agency class doesn’t have many proven 3&D forwards outside of Otto Porter Jr.
It could be difficult to find a solution to this hole, but it is crucial for their depth.
2. Scoring 6th man
If LaVine and DeRozan were ever off the court at the same time, it was difficult for the Bulls to score. Even when one of them was off the floor in the postseason, Milwaukee could trap them, forcing others to step up.
Adding a great bench scorer could help the Bulls take it to the next level. In free agency, Chicago could pursue a guy like Montrezl Harrell, who is always in 6th Man of the Year conversations. This season, Harrell averaged 13.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game while shooting 64.5 percent from the field.
If they are unable to get a guy like Harrell, they could look at options in the draft and see who would fit as a bench scorer.
1. Rim protecting center
Perhaps the biggest weakness on the roster for the Bulls this season was their lack of a rim protector. Players that dominate in the paint, like Giannis Antetokounmpo, are able to take advantage of that. Chicago is then forced to send double teams and traps, which opens up shooters for the opposing offense.
A name that the Bulls have been linked to is three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. The Utah Jazz has a ton of uncertainty in their organization following another playoff exit. Head coach Quin Snyder, who had been there for eight years, also stepped down. This has brought up a question mark on whether or not Donovan Mitchell and Gobert will stay together in Utah.
If Gobert is available, he could be an ideal fit for the Bulls. He would be their defensive anchor while being a great rebounder and a lob threat. A trade for Gobert would likely include Nikola Vucevic, one of their young players, and some draft picks.
However, if the Bulls do not want to pursue this route, they could select a rim protector with their draft pick. While the 18th pick isn’t going to get a top prospect, they could find a valuable role player.
This is a big offseason for Chicago, as they look to build upon their somewhat successful season. Re-signing LaVine will be key before they address other problems with their roster.