How Could Improved Play Impact the Front Office’s Decision-Making? (And Other Bulls Bullets)

Brb going to go tattoo this across my back.

https://twitter.com/chicagobulls/status/1351674039958458372?s=20

K. Done.

•   Isn’t it so nice to see those smiles? I know even under the dysfunctional guidance of Jim Boylen, these players had their fun, but seeing this team cheerful in the context of a new head coach and front office feels that much more genuine. The players have not only bought into their new system, but they have bought into the organization’s growing culture. There finally seems to be an emphasis on learning from past mistakes and showing an improved product on the court. Sure, the on-court play has been far from perfect, but it’s taken a step in the right direction. Fourteen games into this whole new Bulls era, that’s pretty much all we can ask for.

•   A situation I’m increasingly curious about is … well … success. No, I don’t think this team is going to achieve anything truly special this season, but they certainly have looked more competitive early-on than we expected, right? The 6-8 record is their best to start a season in four years, and over the next month or so the team’s schedule only gets easier. There is still plenty of time for things to trend downward and mediocrity to ensue, but what will happen if this team actually finds itself in a position to grab a play-in tournament spot? Will Arturas Karnisovas limit the roster turnover we expect to see around the trade deadline or this offseason? Will he hesitate to have trade talks about the team’s veterans? Will the front office all of a sudden have more confidence in this young core? At the end of the day, this kind of conversation is probably premature for us, but I do think it’s an ongoing one inside the Bulls front office.

•   My best guess is that we still see roster turnover sooner than later and that the front office will use any team-wide success to potentially improve their traction in the trade market. We talked on Tuesday about the veteran bench mob that has really given this team a boost to start the season, and I suspect some of these players will be explicitly, or quietly, on the trading block as the deadline nears. I envision Thaddeus Young and Otto Porter, specifically, will have their fair share of interest from contending teams. But what can the Bulls get in return? I think that will all depend on (1) how those two continue to play and (2) what other players who become available.

•   The league wants to make sure more people are available to watch the Bulls.

•   Friend of the program Rob Schaefer put together a great post outlining Zach LaVine’s big statistical start to the season, and one of my favorite stats he shared appears as followed: “Last season, only Antetokounmpo, Devin Booker, Damian Lillard and James Harden posted marks better than the minimums of 25 points per game, five assists per game and 60 percent true shooting. Solid company, albeit early.” The following tidbit not only demonstrates the elite company LaVine currently finds himself in but the fact that he is taking pretty massive steps toward becoming a more well-rounded player. Again, we have to wait and see whether or not he can keep this up, but the willingness he has shown in the playmaking and defense department has been very encouraging.

•   Will Gottlieb did a great deep-dive into LaVine’s elevated passing ability, and I recommend you give it a read!

•   Thaddeus Young has played A LOT of basketball.

•   Obligatory Patrick Williams bullet:

•   This person didn’t need to flex so hard. My goodness.

•   But he’s still going to have a better season than Zach LaVine, right ESPN? 

•   Coby White better.

written by

Elias Schuster is the Lead Chicago Bulls writer at Bleacher Nation. He started with BN full-time in 2019 immediately after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with a degree in Journalism (yes, he started with the Jim Boylen Era). Since joining, Elias has been the driving force behind Bulls and NBA content for both the site and social accounts. You can follow him on Twitter/X @Schuster_Elias.

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