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How Good Is the Chicago Bulls 2020-21 Roster?
The Chicago Bulls remained a pretty bad basketball team a year ago. They finished third in the Central Division and improved defensively, but it wasn’t enough to save head coach Jim Boylen’s job.
That’s probably for the best, of course, as the Bulls scooped up former Thunder head man Billy Donovan and may finally be able to march forward with confidence.
Chicago is still young and inexperienced, but there’s no denying their collection of talent. Can Donovan and the Bulls 2020-21 coaching staff turn things around and morph this team into a playoff threat?
Better yet, are the Bulls good enough to send you to the best NBA sportsbooks to place a bet on their behalf? Let’s find out as I dig into their lineup in my Chicago Bulls roster analysis for the 2020-21 NBA season.
Chicago Bulls Roster in 2020-21
- Key Additions: Patrick Williams, Garrett Temple, Noah Vonleh
- Key Losses: Kris Dunn
- PG: Coby White
- SG: Zach LaVine
- SF: Otto Porter
- PF: Lauri Markkanen
- C: Wendell Carter
The Bulls really didn’t lose much from last year’s roster, but the one guy they did say goodbye to (Kris Dunn) was an elite defender.
Dunn was a pretty big part of an improved defense, and losing him could bring a hit to Chicago’s defensive efficiency. He was also another creator and scorer for the offense.
Fortunately, Coby White is a big offensive upgrade and can also create offense. The team also added two potential impact defenders in lottery pick Patrick Williams and two-way player Garrett Temple.
Their starting five should be able to be a lot more explosive offensively than they were a year ago. Efficiency and consistency is the issue, and new head coach Billy Donovan will have his hands full trying to improve this squad.
Chicago Bulls’ Bench
- Tomas Satoransky
- Ryan Arcidiacono
- Devon Dotson
- Denzel Valentine
- Garrett Temple
- Adam Mokoka
- Zach Norvell Jr.
- Patrick Williams
- Chandler Hutchinson
- Thaddeus Young
- Marko Simonovic
- Noah Vonleh
- Simisola Shittu
- Daniel Gafford
- Luke Kornet
- Cristiano Felicio
Chicago’s bench gets a boost from incoming rookie Patrick Williams, Garrett Temple, and Noah Vonleh. The latter two have experience chipping in off the bench, and they’ll join regular rotational players like Tomas Satoransky and Thaddeus Young to make up a fairly underrated bench.
The Bulls even brought back versatile perimeter player Denzel Valentine.
When healthy, Valentine has the ability to create offense and hit shots from long range. He’s just another guy off a surprisingly deep bench, however. If the development of Williams is speedy and otherwise useful, Valentine could be rendered relatively useless.
Bulls’ Best Player – Zach LaVine
LaVine is not a perfect player, but he does a lot of things very well.
There are not many players who can take over games as effortlessly as he can, and his 25.5 points per game showcased his ability to carry the offense on a regular basis.
He displayed the ability to take over games countless times last year and topped 40+ points five different times.
Consistency isn’t always LaVine’s forte, and for a guy who has the ball in his hands as much as he does (13th highest usage rate), his assist numbers should be higher, and his turnovers should be lower.
That said, the Bulls really only excelled when LaVine was hot. He can be more efficient and consistent, but he’s also just 25 and hasn’t had a whole lot of help around him. There have been a lot of Zach LaVine trade rumors, but the Bulls have a franchise player here.
Chicago’s X-Factor – Lauri Markkanen
You could go in a number of different directions here, as the Bulls have several young players they wouldn’t mind “unlocking.”
To take this thing to the next level with their current roster, though, they need Lauri Markkanen to get back to the lights out scorer he was two seasons ago, or get even better than that.
Markkanen is like a “mini Dirk Nowitzki,” in that he’s an immensely skilled offensive player but is more on the finesse side. Regardless, he can stroke it from long range (career 35.6% shooter) and can score in a multitude of ways.
New head coach Billy Donovan has already said he wants to tap into Lauri’s upside and get away from him being “just a catch-and-shoot forward.”
Billy Donovan on Lauri Markkanen: "I don't want him to be one-dimensional … a catch-and-shoot forward … He can do a lot of different things."— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) December 1, 2020
That idea meshes well with the organization’s ongoing plight to ensure Markkanen’s plateau of a year ago isn’t here to stay.
Still just 23 years old, Markkanen has flashed impressive offensive ability, but if he can take his game to the next level (20+ points per game), the Bulls could inch their way into the playoff conversation.
Final Assessment of the Chicago Bulls Roster
The Bulls aren’t a finished product in any sense of the word. However, they did a good thing by bringing in Donovan, who kept OKC competitive (and even got the NBA playoffs) last year despite trading away Russell Westbrook.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and several other young players blossomed under Donovan’s watch last year, so there is real hope he can do what needs to be done to increase this young core’s production.
Betting on the Bulls will be interesting this year. They showed solid defensive ability last season, and their offense was very good in spurts.
This roster legit has four guys who can drop 20+ points on any given night, and then there’s the hopeful development of Wendell Carter, the presence of a 3-and-D guy like Otto Porter, and of course the arrival of Patrick Williams.
It could take beyond this season, but don’t be shocked if Donovan has this team looking significantly better from the jump.
Want a look at more NBA rosters ahead of the 2020-21 NBA season? Hit up the links below.