Season Preview

Hype is Real: Bulls of old with a bit of new

Published October 12, 2022, 11:30 AMJon Carlos Rodriguez
Jon Carlos Rodriguez

After a disappointing finish last season, can the Bulls redeem themselves this year?

Hype is Real is an NBA.com Philippines series that gives an optimistic view of every NBA team heading into the 2022-2023 season. This is our way of convincing people why they should support and watch a particular team.

Overview of their 2021-2022 season

The Chicago Bulls were hot to start the 2021-2022 season. Like, ‘90s Bulls hot. Big pickups in the previous offseason jumpstarted the Bulls’ run in the first few months, and by mid-January, they were a 27-13 powerhouse team in the East.

Then they weren’t. Injuries to key pieces began to unravel, and the dream run of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, Nikola Vucevic, and Alex Caruso started to show cracks.

The Bulls went 19-23 since, but the early dominance gave them enough momentum to still finish sixth in the Eastern Conference—way below the projection when they started.

Still, it was a playoff appearance that the Bulls have been waiting for since 2017. They sprinted right out of the gate, sputtered midseason, then crawled their way into a gentleman’s sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks. For Bulls lifers who were there during the days when Bobby Portis was fighting Nikola Mirotic in practice, this wasn’t bad at all.

What’s new this season?

Unfortunately for the Bulls, they’ll start the season still without Ball. To fill in this playmaking void, they got an older model in Goran Dragic. He might not bring in the flair and excitement that Ball flashed briefly in Chicago but what he’ll bring is the much-needed poise.

The Bulls also added big man Andre Drummond, who’s expected to grab a ton of rebounds because that’s what Andre Drummond does.

Last year’s injury-plagued season also opened up doors for a bunch of the Bulls’ younger players like Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu, and they’re expected to take it one notch higher this season.

THE guy

Sorry, Alex Caruso fans, while his GOAT-like tendencies always shake up NBA Twitter, the guy for Chicago is still DeMar DeRozan.

DeRozan’s consistency and reliability gave the Bulls life towards the end of their 2022 campaign when the team was already running on fumes. LaVine will make his case for best Bull, but DeRozan–as he proved many times last season–is the go-to guy for Chicago at the end of games.

Sneaky fun guy

With Ball still out, Dragic will be the Bulls’ sneaky fun guy to fill in that point guard spot. The veteran showed flashes of OG brilliance in the EuroBasket in the offseason and is still very capable of playing fun basketball. 

Vibe check

The Bulls won’t surprise a lot of people this season as the Lonzo Ball waiting game continues. DeRozan’s midrange superiority will still be there to complement LaVine’s explosiveness. Come for that, but stay for the exciting upside of Dosunmu and Patrick Williams. That’s where the new vibes are.