Preseason Predictions for the Chicago Bulls Range from Awful to … “I’ll Take It!”
Don’t let the roster fool you, a lot has changed for the Bulls over the last nine months. Even from afar, we can see that the team has thoroughly overhauled their front office and coaching staff, leading to some of the soundest organizational infrastructure inside the Advocate Center in quite some time.
Still, the NBA is a results-based industry, and the fact of the matter is this year’s roster is eerily similar to last season’s group. There might be some positive momentum around the organization (and a fresh lottery pick), but until this team shows that they’re capable of producing a more positive outcome on the court, they are not going to get the kind of respect they desire.
With that said, it should not come as a major surprise that the Bulls are not bound for much improvement in the eyes of the NBA predictors. Let’s take a look at where Chicago falls in the latest preseason predictions across the interwebz.
The Athletic’s Zach Harper – 12th (28th-overall)
Thus far, Harper’s prediction inside The Athletic makes for the lowest projection I’ve found. He expects this current Bulls team to finish 3rd-to-last in the NBA, which would be four spots lower than where they finished last season under Jim Boylen. While I can surely understand many of the questions Harper posses, I simply can’t envision how this team finishes worse than last year. Is it just me or does competent coaching, alone, net this group at least couple more wins?
The only real way I see the Bulls plummeting further down the standings is if the front office decides to trade away talent and start fresh.
On the Same Page
• ESPN Forecast – 11th (28-44)
• Five Thirty-Eight – 11th (25-57)
• The Athletic’s John Hollinger – 11th (26-46)
• Bleacher Report – 11th (28-24)
• Bleacher Report – 11th (21st-overall)
• HoopsHype – 11th
Finishing 11th in the East was by far the most popular choice for this Bulls team, and I can understand why. My hopes are, of course, a bit higher, but I can’t deny the fact that several other teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference added players that can provide a more immediate impact in the win column. Whether it be the Hornets (Gordon Hayward), the Wizards (Russell Westbrook), or the Hawks (Danilo Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic), it’s not out of the realm of possibility that we see the Bulls struggle to finish with a better relative Eastern Conference position than they did in 2019-20.
At the same time, who the hell knows … the Bulls could surpass a couple of these teams and crack the play-in tournament easily (this year’s tournament consists of seeds 7-10). I expect the Magic, Hawks, Wizards, Hornets, and Bulls to all be battling pretty fiercely for those spots over the court of the season, so it could come down to a matter of one or two wins. With a player or two takes the right step forward and Donovan being a smart coach, the Bulls might get those wins.
A Little Optimism
• NBA.com – 9th
• Forbes – 9th (30-42)
Ah, come on, we don’t have one crazy person predicting the Bulls to finish with the 6th seed!?
Seriously, finishing 9th in the East would probably be considered a solid win for this organization, especially with the improvements we’ve seen from other Eastern Conference teams this offseason. And if the Bulls are sitting in 9th, that most likely means they were in a somewhat legitimate competition for 8th (Michael: And also the 10th, then right?), which would make things all the better. At the end of the day, I know an 9th-place finish doesn’t feel all that appealing, but it would certainly demonstrate a step in the right direction for this organization. I definitely want to see them do even better, however, I’d settle for this.