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• Another way-too-early 2020-21 power rankings … another rough placement for the Bulls. The other day, I shared Bleacher Reports rankings, which had the Bulls placed behind the Thunder and Magic at No. 24. Unfortunately, The Athletic doesn’t have that much more confidence in this re-vitalized Bulls team, placing them one notch lower at No. 25. I will say, though, I respect what The Athletic’s Zach Harper had to write in his rankings: “They should be better than this, but I need to see them play smart basketball consistently before I buy in.” I’m not saying I think the Bulls are entitled to a ranking that is much higher than the 24-25 range, but I do think we need to recognize how easily they could surpass that mark (as Harper does).
• I don’t think this team is a lock to make the playoffs next season, but I feel pretty comfortable saying they’ll compete for it (bar any injury trouble). With a new coaching staff, an aggressive front office, and another year under these young players belts, I just don’t believe we’re looking at one of the worst five teams in the league anymore. Perhaps that’s me being overly optimistic, but how could I not be with all this positive momentum for the organization?
• Sam Smith gave us something to think about in his latest mailbag. According to the long-time Bulls reporter, Denzel Valentine impressed during the Bulls minicamps, which means maybe he did enough to save himself a spot on the roster. The Bulls can extend Valentine a $4.6 million qualifying offer (per spotrac) this offseason, but whether or not they will choose to do-so has been up in the air for a while. The previous regime appeared to be entirely done with him, as head coach Jim Boylen played him extremely seldom despite the team’s desperate need for some outside shooting. The coaching decision felt especially silly after Valentine performed well numerous times when given the rare chance. The Bulls have fresh eyes on this team now, though, and I suppose it’s more than possible someone like Arturas Karnisovas sees a role for Valentine moving forward.
• I wouldn’t mind if Valentine got one more shot in a new system. Like I said, the guy had flashes last season, and there is a world where he becomes a very valuable role player immediately upon leaving Chicago (which is never fun to see). He has a great stroke from deep, and his passing skills are quietly some of the best on the team. The Bulls failed to use his basketball IQ to their advantage last season, so I’d be pretty interested to see what a coach like Donovan could do with Valentine at his disposal. Now, with that said, if the Bulls feels as though they can sign a less injury-prone and more reliable bench piece, they have my full support. This team is going to have to see guys leave at some point, and that could start with players like Valentine, Dunn, and Harrison this offseason.
"Coby looked the best" during the scrimmages, says @SamSmithHoops.
He answered your mailbag questions 📬
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) October 16, 2020
• All of you talk about trading for Derrick Rose … why don’t we just sign his son?
• Bulls fans sure do know how to think of some interesting trades …
A few days ago, we put out the bat signal for Bulls trade ideas for the offseason… and got some ambitious responses.
Grades are in:https://t.co/n1csr5hoqn
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) October 16, 2020