The Chicago Bulls entered the season in a full rebuild after trading away their star Jimmy Butler. In the deal, they acquired point guard Kris Dunn, shooting guard Zach LaVine and the draft rights to Lauri Markkanen.
As you can see on this visual tracker of this season’s NBA Championship Odds, the Bulls were not expected to win the NBA Finals.
While the Bulls struggled from the start, they have turned things around.
That is due to the excellent play of Dunn and Markkanen, two key pieces in that Butler deal. As of Jan. 16 the Bulls sit at 17-27, the ninth-worst record in the NBA.
They have essentially played themselves out of the top three in the NBA Draft Lottery, falling four games behind the Sacramento Kings at No. 3.
With Markkanen and Dunn playing well, it’s shown the potential for a bright future in Chicago. Now the two are joined by the other piece of the trade, Zach LaVine, who made his debut on Jan. 13.
Since LaVine’s return, the Bulls are 2-0 and the guard has looked good.
LaVine is shooting 57 percent and averaging 16 points per game in those two games, playing around 20 minutes in each contest. He’s the type of player the Bulls really haven’t had on their roster over the years, bringing athleticism to a young team.
The energy LaVine plays with should bring a boost to this team.
The Bulls still don’t have good odds to win it all but they weren’t expected to.
This team is still hoping to tank enough to get a high draft pick and draft one of the generational talents in the draft such as Marvin Bagley III, Michael Porter Jr., DeAndre Ayton and Luka Doncic.
In order to do so, the Bulls will need to start losing more games but that could be difficult as the team has elevated its play as of late.
There’s still a lot of basketball to be played but there are signs of a bright and healthy future ahead for this organization.