Since most of you don’t know my fandom, I am a Bulls fan. I have been since the Jordan years. I have seen the first edition of the Baby Bulls, with the likes of Eddy Curry, Tyson Chandler, and the almighty Marcus Fizer. I know what it is like to cheer for a team with zero aspirations or any sort of young stars to grasp onto (Damn you Jay Williams).
This year’s Bulls team was supposed to be one of those teams. They were supposed to finish in dead last and then next year build around their 2017 first round pick, Lauri Markkanen, their 2018 top 5 pick, and the two other players acquired in the Jimmy Butler trade, Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine.
Going into this year it looked like that is exactly how it was going to be. The year started off with Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis exchanging blows during practice. Niko received the brunt of that battle and had to miss some time with facial injuries. During that time off, Bobby Portis attempted to reach out and apologize but Niko was having none of it. The riff continued to be awkward as Niko returned to the court and acknowledged that Bobby and himself do not speak off the court. In all this melee, Niko has discovered how to play the game of basketball. He has averaged 17.3 ppg and has shot 44.7% from behind the arc.
To go along with that, the pieces the Bulls received in the Jimmy Butler trade have been performing extremely well. Kris Dunn has averaged 13.7 ppg and has shown signs that he can be a mainstay at guard moving forward for this franchise. The Finn Reaper, Lauri Markkanen, is in the conversation for Rookie of the Year in a rookie class that is absolutely LOADED. He has struggled from behind the arc, but has shown signs of extreme athleticism as shown below…
SIT DOWN WHEN YOU PEE ENES!!!
Add those two pieces, Niko, and now Zach LaVine and the Bulls find themselves in quite the conundrum. They currently sit at 18-28, which is good for 12th in the Eastern Conference. There are A LOT of bad teams this year in the NBA, so in order for the Bulls to fully embrace this tank some things need to happen.
Niko ABSOLUTELY needs to be traded. Gar/Pax has butchered a lot in the past, this rebuild they cannot mess up. Package Niko and Robin Lopez to get whatever you possibly can. I don’t care if it simply a 2nd round pick and a bag of potatoes. Niko needs to be traded in order for the Bulls to lose more games. This team will win enough games with the three young guys. They are capable enough to beat every bad team the Bulls play. Niko allows the Bulls to compete with the decent teams and beat them. In order to get in that top 5, the Bulls need to lose to all of the decent teams and some of the bad teams.
I will give Gar/Pax credit for the Jimmy Butler trade, it seems as though they knocked it out of the park with what we have seen thus far. They were at odds with Jimmy and the Bulls were never going to win a championship with him. Now do the right thing, make some trades, and continue to tank. Build this team up to be good in 2-3 years when LeBron is that much older and hopefully you can then attract a big name free agent to come to Chicago to play with the young core you will have built by then.