After an offseason of change, the Chicago Bulls look like an entirely different team on the court this fall, spreading the ball around, flashing athleticism, and playing with the sort of chemistry we haven’t seen in years. Of course, no official stats or wins will appear in fine print until the regular season tips off a week from today, so we’ll have to hold our horses (or in this case … our bulls) before we start championing anything.
However, there is already one thing we do know for sure: The 2019-2020 Chicago Bulls are big. Clearly, adding size was on head coach Jim Boylen’s mind this offseason, and it was something the Bulls accomplished.
First, consider the height of these offseason additions:
- Coby White – 6’5″
- Tomas Satoransky – 6’7″
- Thaddeus Young – 6’8″
- Daniel Gafford – 6’11”
- Luke Kornet – 7’1″
Then consider the addition of Otto Porter (6’8″) late last season. Add it all up, and you’ll find that the Bulls won’t have a single-player under 6’5″ in their starting lineup or among many of the initial players off the bench.
Moreover, using the projected starting lineups ESPN has to offer and the heights listed on Basketball Reference for each player, I calculated the estimated average height for each starting lineup in the Eastern Conference. And by back-of-the-napkin math, the Bulls come in as the second-tallest starting lineup behind the Philadelphia 76ers (who most likely have the tallest team in the NBA).
The average height for Chicago comes out to 80.4 inches (roughly 6’8″), and other than the 76ers of course, no other starting lineup in the East (based off these projections) stand above the 80-inches mark. Heck, I’d say that’s a decent advantage.
Sure, the biggest team isn’t always going to be the best team, but the Bulls have one less thing to worry about when it comes to proper matchups. The team’s distribution of size allows for more versatility, hence Tomas Satoransky playing the two or three in the preseason or Thaddeus Young contributing at the four or five.
The team has also stressed defensive improvement this offseason, something with which the Bulls height could help immensely. With a smaller difference between each player’s size/length in the lineup, switching roles and joining for help defense becomes, in several ways, a lot easier. And, while size can often hinder speed – at least, narratively – the Bulls appear to have found a surprisingly rare balance between the two.
Again: size isn’t everything, but anything that can set you apart from the other Eastern Conference’s bottom feeders is warmly welcomed. I’m ready to watch these big Bulls work!