The Windy City has seen some rough years here recently in the United Center, but I think that’s about to change. A new front office and head coach is at the helm and could be the difference this franchise needs. There is plenty of young talent that has to prove they can play at this level, but I’m a believer. Here’s why.
The new head coach for the Bulls is Billy Donovan. Donovan was able to win multiple championships at Florida and made the leap into the NBA seamlessly. Not all coaches can make the adjustment (just ask Bulls fans about Hoiberg). Billy has been able to do it by repeatedly getting to the playoffs despite all the turnover he has seen in OKC. He helped elevate a Thunder team to the playoffs last season even though they had no real business being there. Can he do the same for the Bulls? I believe so.
Chicago’s defense took a hit when the team decided not to bring back Kris Dunn and Shaq Harrison. Dunn opted to sign with Atlanta and Harrison remains unsigned. Both saw plenty of playing time with the Bulls last seasons and would have fit Donovan’s system well. They’re both great defenders who play hard, so it hurts to lose both of them. The team did end up making an addition that shouldn’t go unnoticed. Garrett Temple inked a contract for one year with the Bulls and I, for one, liked the move. Temple is a solid 3-and-D player who has been around the league for a long time. He isn’t going to wow anyone with his ability, but he does his job well. Many have raved about how great of a locker room presence he is and I think that will be valuable to this young team.
Chicago wound up with the fourth pick in the draft this year and made some noise with their pick. Most considered the selection of Patrick Williams to be a reach, but he was the guy they wanted. The philosophy when drafting in a weak draft class is take whoever you like the most regardless of spot. The Bulls did just that. Williams is a long, athletic, versatile player who could end up being a well-rounded player for years to come. He may not make much of an impact this season, but he will be someone I watch going forward. The team also selected Marko Simonovic in the second round and signed former Kansas guard Devon Dotson as an undrafted free agent. Simonovic is a big man who can shoot the ball and is continually developing his body. He may not end up making the transition to the NBA for a couple of years. Dotson will more than likely end up in the G-League and may be able to carve out a role as a decent backup guard someday.
There wasn’t much movement on the roster, but I’m extremely excited for the changes the team made this year. The natural development of players early in their careers coupled with a great coach like Donovan makes me thrilled to watch Bulls games this season. The franchise is betting on the young guys will grow under new leadership and I think that bet will work out quite well.