In the coming weeks, the Chicago Bulls new brass will begin to leave their mark on this roster. Be it through the draft, free agency, or even the extension of a qualifying offer, fans should finally have a better idea of what this team will look like down the road.
The roster, as we know it today – constructed around young talent like Zach LaVine, Coby White, Lauri Markkanen, and Wendell Carter Jr. – isn’t bound to stay that way. While certain pieces may be here for the long-haul, I don’t think any of us would be surprised to see any one of these players wearing another jersey in the near future. Sure, all deserve a chance to prove their worth under competent management and a qualified head coach. But it’s obvious this team isn’t presently built to be a high-playoff seed – let alone a true championship contender.
One of the first major roster decisions this front office/coaching staff will have to make centers around the point guard position. Chicago has failed repeatedly to find a real answer at the lead guard slot since Derrick Rose’s Windy City journey came to a depressing end. The old regime drafted Coby White in 2019, but his natural scoring ability combined with the fact that he received just one start last season has left the new front office with no real clue whether or not White can successfully run the point.
Thus, the organization is left with a big question: Give White a chance to prove he is the point guard of the future or allow him to focus on his scoring and go with someone else?
According to NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson, there are rumblings that the front office could opt for the latter.
Separately, I’ve heard secondhand that the new regime is high on White but that they view him more as a scoring guard than a point guard. That’s why there’s so much talk around the league that the Bulls are focused on point guard this offseason, either through free agency or, more likely, the draft.
First things first, it’s good to know Karnisovas and Eversley are “high” on White. Hopefully, this tells us is that he won’t really be limited at all next season. And more fundamentally, it’s reassuring to know that these two quality talent evaluators do, in fact, see strong potential in White.
Still, the idea that they will seek out a gifted facilitator in the draft or free agency continues to gain traction (escalated by Johnson’s comments above). And that’s where things do start to get complicated.
Adding another potential lead guard into the mix really muddies up the Bulls backcourt (which already has Coby White, Tomas Satoransky, and Ryan Arcidiacono under contract). Of course, this isn’t a reason not to add another lottery pick to this team, it’s just something that will add to the complicated decision-making.
Let’s say the Bulls draft Killian Hayes with the No. 4 pick of the 2020 draft. As I’m sure we all know, a team doesn’t draft a lottery pick to sit on the bench – at least not for long. Donovan and the front office would likely be eager to get Hayes onto the court, which then leaves White in a tough spot. If the team is reportedly high on White, would they really feel comfortable having him come off the bench? After all, he is also another recent lottery pick who deserves his fair share of minutes on the court. Could you play him with Hayes? Sure, but not unless you’re running a three-guard lineup with Hayes, White, and Zach LaVine.
Speaking of LaVine, it’s hard to know what drafting another guard tells us about his future. I suppose there is a world where the team becomes more prone to dangling LaVine on the trade market with plans to try White at the 2.
The funny thing is – and Johnson notes this in his latest mailbag where he shared the quote featured above – White and LaVine could actually make sense together on the court. I’ve written about it plenty before. I’m not saying this continued talk about the team’s desperate need for a true point guard is misguided; however, LaVine seems to love playing alongside White, who’s presence certainly opens up the floor.
There is always the possibility that all this chatter about drafting a point guard is a smokescreen for something else, but we can still all agree the move would make sense, especially if that player is considered the best available. We can also all agree that the Bulls will be in a bit of a tricky situation if this does, in fact, become the case. The good news is that the Bulls have time to deal with tricky situations (as well as, hopefully, the right minds). No one on this team is safe from getting the boot. All this team needs to focus on right now is acquiring talent. Figure out the rest later.