Is it still too early for 2022-23 power rankings? Absolutely.
Does that mean I’ll ignore them like a smart person and continue to enjoy the natural optimism that builds over the offseason? Of course not! Screw self-control!
- NBA dot com’s John Schuhmann released a fresh Eastern Conference power ranking with training camp roughly one month away. At the top of the totem pole is Boston, whose run to the NBA Finals this past season certainly warrants that level of respect. Second are the 2021 NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks, with the 76ers, Heat, and Raptors rounding out the top 5. So where do the Bulls rank? In the exact same slot they finished a couple of months back.
- I think a No. 6-overall ranking is entirely justified. In fact, that’s probably the same spot my positive brain would place them as we look toward October. While I think the Bulls could somewhat easily end up better than the Toronto Raptors by season’s end, I’m also not ready to move them into the No. 5 spot when a team like the Nets (depending on what happens with Durant) or Atlanta Hawks (ranked No. 8) could be right in the mix for a top-6 seed.
- Some put a little too much weight on what this group accomplished when healthy last season (and I fear the front office has done the same). As successful as this team was in the first half, that was a tremendously small sample size against a much easier stretch of the schedule. We simply have to take that into consideration when assessing their real potential among some of the East elites. Now, at the same time, what they did is not nothing. When the Bulls were good last season, they were really good. Like … top-10 on both sides of the ball good. And the fact the roster has barely changed gives us reason to believe they can play that well again. I just think we can’t bank on that at the moment due to injury concerns, collective inexperience, and sample size. The margin for error on this roster still remains rather large, which is why I believe a No. 6 spot is a completely safe and reasonable ranking (for now).
- Nikola Vucevic and Goran Dragic are in California! And they’re sipping some friendship tea!
- According to NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson earlier this offseason, Vucevic was a fundamental part of convincing Dragic to join the organization. Say what you will about the Dragic signing in the context of this roster’s needs, but he’s an extremely well-respected veteran with an extensive history of winning basketball games. The fact that Vucevic played a role in convincing the point guard to join the organization is another strong reminder of his value. As much as he may have struggled last season, Vucevic is still a reputable player in league circles. Yes, he needs to take a step back in the right direction this year, but I do think we tend to forget that the franchise can do a lot worse than the 2x All-Star manning the center position.
- Speaking of which, let’s also not forget that Vucevic is heading into the final year of his contract. The Bulls still have a chance to extend the big man, but my guess is that both parties will head into the season ready to play things out. In other words, there should be no lack of motivation for Vucevic to prove he’s worthy of another significant payday. For the sake of the Bulls’ success, I’ll be rooting for Vucevic to earn a new bag.
- The Bulls made the Dragic signing official on Tuesday. I wrote a little bit more about that and shared some thoughts on the current roster.
- GOAT things …
- … more GOAT things …
- Everyone always compares Patrick Williams to Kawhi Leonard, but I think Leonard saw Williams’ thighs and knew he had to catch up. The Klaw looks like a beast!
- RIP to a sportscasting legend.
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