2017-2018 Chicago Bulls Preview: It Might Get Ugly In The Windy City

09.11.17 2 weeks ago

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2016-17 Record: 41-41 (8th in East)

Players Added: Ryan Arcidiacono (FA), Antonio Blakeney (FA), Kris Dunn (Trade with MIN), Justin Holiday (FA), Zach LaVine (Trade with MIN), Lauri Markkanen (Draft), David Nwaba (FA), Quincy Pondexter (Trade with NOP)

Players Lost: Jimmy Butler (Trade with MIN), Isaiah Canaan (FA), Michael Carter-Williams (FA), Joffrey Lauvergne (FA), Anthony Morrow (FA), Rajon Rondo (FA)

Projected Team MVP: Zach LaVine

This is absolutely a risky pick but, given the roster, there isn’t an obvious choice. Dwyane Wade is, quite obviously, the most established player in Chicago but there is plenty of buzz about the future Hall of Fame guard seeking a buyout. He is probably the “right answer” if guaranteed to play 60-plus games in a Bulls uniform but that would be very difficult to bank on given the publicly available information combined with common sense. Couple that uncertainty with the lack of punch up and down the squad and you can reasonably land on a player recovering from a torn ACL as the team’s MVP.

LaVine’s suffered the injury in February and there is some excitement about his potential return coming (very) close to the start of the 2017-2018 campaign. If that happens, there is every reason to think that the hyper-athletic 22-year-old can hit the ground running. In 47 games before going down a year ago, LaVine averaged 18.9 points per game while posting a highly respectable 58 percent true shooting mark. There are still questions about LaVine’s overall impact given his less than stellar defensive performance and sometimes uneven play-making, but the former Slam Dunk Contest winner presents real upside and, on the offensive end, is already an established entity.

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