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Latest Power Rankings: Bulls Are THE SECOND BEST Team in the NBA

Chicago Bulls

The latest power rankings are in over at NBA.com, and the Chicago Bulls check in this morning at … shuffles papers, adjusts glasses, checks again … NUMBER 2 IN THE NBAbehind only the Golden State Warriors.

HELLO.

Here’s what NBA dot com had to say about the journey up to No. 2 (from 9th in the rankings last week):

The Bulls’ loss at Golden State on Friday was their first that wasn’t within five points in the last five minutes. They were playing without Nikola Vucevic (health and safety protocols) for the first time, they got blitzed in the third quarter by the best third-quarter team in the league, and they got no offense beyond that of DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine. But the good outweighed the bad in a 3-1 week, with a big win over Brooklyn and road victory over the Clippers being the highlights.

DeRozan has taken 19 more mid-range shots than any other player in the league, but both he and LaVine attacked Blake Griffin early and often in the pick-and-roll on Monday, scoring 25 of their 52 points in the restricted area (14) or at the free throw line. Though there’s been some improvement in the last few games, the offense hasn’t been great (104.6 points scored per 100 possessions) with both scorers on the floor. It’s actually been at its best (114.5 per 100) with LaVine off the floor and DeRozan carrying a usage rate of 36%.

With Vucevic out and Tony Bradley totaling just 37 minutes in his two starts, the Bulls have been forced into some small ball. So games against Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic this week could provide a challenge for a defense that hasn’t been great in regard to protecting the rim.

At 9-4, the Bulls are off to a tremendous start to the 2021-22 season and are finally getting some national love they haven’t received in years. According to Power Rankings Guru, the Bulls are up seven spots in NBA.com’s power rankings this week, and they’re doing all of this with the fifth most challenging schedule. ESPN’s Power Index Playoff Odds has the Bulls with a 76.2 percent chance of making the postseason this year, the sixth-highest percentage in the Eastern Conference.

In addition to the difficulty of schedule that the Bulls have overcome early this season, they’ve done all of this without Patrick Williams, Coby White, and now Nikola Vucevic at different points of their first 13 games. Thankfully, the Bulls will get Coby White back tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers, and Vucevic should be back with the team after the current road trip.



Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.