After finishing the season going 27-55 Chicago Bulls vice president John Paxson addressed many things with the media. Such topics as the dynamics of the team moving forward, Lauri Markkanen’s stellar rookie year, the potential draft slotting/strategy and Fred Hoiberg’s future were part of the discussion.
The Markkanen Effect Alongside Dunn and Lavine
The small sample size that we were given didn’t yield promising results as combined they had a minus 21.5 net rating in their minutes together according to NBA.com.
Those reults, however, should have been expected, given that Lauri is a rookie, Dunn was reestablishing his lottery status, and Lavine coming back from major knee surgery.
Moving forward, the team has to establish a true offensive identity, that begins and ends with Markkanen who has shown the most upside of the three. Dunn and Lavine might have alpha like mentalities, but they would best be suited with developing their games to fit with Markkanen’s who is a mismatch nightmare for opposing power forwards. He hasn’t even fully established his lauded three point shot which he should hit with regularity moving forward.
Markkanen was Chicago’s brightest young player this year and was a joy to watch. Paxson emphasized though that Markkanen must get stronger, become better with his handle, and work on his post game.
Regarding the draft
Most draft experts have the Bulls taking the best player available. But Paxson did more than hint at what position the team will address moving forward. He made a point of mentioning the need to find a wing player with size, length and a “shooting component.”
It would be very disappointing to a lot of Bulls fans if Michael Porter Jr. fell to them and he wasn’t drafted. It would also be hard to justify not taking former Villanova talent Mikal Bridges if Porter’s services were not available.
Fred Hoiberg’s Future
According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Paxson said on Thursday that Hoiberg will “absolutely” return for his fourth season. And why shouldn’t he? When presented with a healthy roster in late December and early January there wasn’t a tougher out than these young Bulls. Hoiberg successfully navigated the whole Portis/Mirotic debacle. And many of the young players, aside from Cristiano Felicio, showed a lot of progress.
Patience, which Bulls fans are long for, will be the key moving forward and there doesn’t seem to be a better coach designed for this task. The team is young, atrocious defensively, and will make many mistakes before getting better. But I like the solid core that the team has, and they’re in a much better position this year than last.