Following their win against the New York Knicks on Wednesday night, the Chicago Bulls have now won 9-of-11 after starting the season 3-20.
The return of Nikola Mirotic has provided a big boost for the Bulls as the forward has scored at least 20 points in five of the 11 games he’s played in. He’s averaging 17.5 points per game this season.
The ideal scenario for the Bulls entering the season was to tank as much as possible and get a top 3 pick for what is expected to be a loaded draft come June 2018.
But the emergence of Mirotic has helped the Bulls shoot up the standings and they currently sit with the 9th-worst record in the league following Wednesday’s win at the United Center.
Winning provides some good lessons for team with young players like Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine. However, the Front Office still has its eyes set on tanking and improving the team via the draft.
With Mirotic’s hot play, he’s become a perfect trade candidate when he’s eligible to be traded come January and according to the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson, the Bulls have begun shopping Mirotic and Robin Lopez.
Here’s what Johnson wrote on Thursday:
And while management already has begun exploring the trade market on Robin Lopez and Nikola Mirotic and followed through on its conservative approach to LaVine’s return from left ACL surgery, these also are indisputable truths about where the Bulls’ rebuild stands.
Johnson went on to write that management will not judge this team solely on wins and losses but effort as well and player development remains a big deal for this organization moving forward.
If the Bulls can somehow land a late first rounder from a playoff-contending team for Mirotic, then it could be a big win all around. Recent trades from the Front Office such as Doug McDermott and Taj Gibson to Oklahoma City makes it hard to completely trust the organization to get some value in return for Mirotic.
Whatever happens, it’s going to be an interesting and important January for the Bulls.