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The Bulls path to becoming a top tier team in the East via (unlikely) player improvements

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Most feasible, yet unlikely player development this season

Zach becomes an top-tier defensive player (on top of keeping his offensive level flat from last year)
3
6%
Pat becomes a 14 ppg 8 rb 1 bk guy
31
57%
Lonzo becomes a 16 ppg 8 ast guy
17
31%
Coby gets his FG% up to 48% buy learning to shoot floaters
3
6%
 
Total votes: 54

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The Bulls path to becoming a top tier team in the East via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#1 » by sco » Wed Sep 8, 2021 7:25 pm

Put on my fan hat today - maybe it was a little too tight. Was thinking about ways this team can significantly outperform the general consensus of contending for the 8th seed via players taking big steps in development this season. Vote on the one that you think most possible.
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Re: The Bulls path to better than 8th seed via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#2 » by HomoSapien » Wed Sep 8, 2021 7:33 pm

Is one possibility that we're simply just more talented than others? I feel like that doesn't get the attention it deserves. We have 3 All-Star talents that have recently had their best seasons. Not all teams have that.
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Re: The Bulls path to better than 8th seed via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#3 » by Jvaughn » Wed Sep 8, 2021 7:37 pm

Lonzo definitely has the scorers around him to get 8apg. The only real roadblock would be touches to get 16ppg.
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Re: The Bulls path to better than 8th seed via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#4 » by SalmonsSuperfan » Wed Sep 8, 2021 7:54 pm

we were almost the 8th seed last season for what it's worth
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Re: The Bulls path to better than 8th seed via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#5 » by dougthonus » Wed Sep 8, 2021 8:22 pm

I don't think we need unlikely improvements to beyond the 8th seed.

While I don't think the Bulls will get it, talentwise they are in the running for as high as 3. Outside of Brooklyn and Milwaukee there isn't a team in the East that I would say is definitively better than the Bulls if both squads are healthy.

The Bulls problems will be:
1: Single point of failure at Vucevic. If he doesn't have a healthy season, we're completely hosed. We'll be playing five guard lineups.

2: Almost an entirely new roster of guys that need to learn to play together and may not have great chemistry off the bat.

3: We're extremely guard/wing heavy which may end up being a strength at times, but we'll need a pretty unique offense and defense built for our team to compete against big lineups.

If you look at the teams ahead of us last season, I'd say Philly and Miami are _probably_ better if they are healthy and Philly somehow reconciles with Ben Simmons (or trades him for a valuable player), but the talent gap isn't that big. What those teams really have is greater balance, continuity, and perhaps more two way ability.

There are a number of other teams that might be better than us as well. Atlanta obviously has potential. New York will be coached super well and has decent talent, and you have teams like Charlotte with perhaps a young superstar in the making or Boston which has talent but underachieved in recent years (partially due to injuries too). Any of those teams might be better than us too.

We might even be really awful if we have injury problems or bad chemistry or what not. It's just that if things go well for us, it wouldn't surprise me if we're just straight up better than all of them even if we don't have unlikely improvements.
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Re: The Bulls path to better than 8th seed via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#6 » by MrSparkle » Wed Sep 8, 2021 8:36 pm

It's all about the x-factor breakout player: Lonzo, Pat, Troy - one, some or all 3. Could be low-impact disappointments, or game-changers. I have a decent feeling about all 3, though I'm willing to be patient with them- particularly Pat. Troy is in a prove-it-or-lose-it contract situation, so he's got the highest pressure to perform. Really, most reasonable hope is marginal improvements in % and efficiency from all 3, not so much scoring averages. It'd obviously be pretty cool if Lonzo or Pat started playing like top picks, but I don't expect it. Derrick Jones, Bradley, Alize and Stanley also are in this realm of mystery ceiling, though definitely as role-players (PJ Tucker or Ariza realm).

Rest of the crew has a predictable floor and ceiling. You hope the stars play efficient offense together, the defensive guys shoot some solid percentages, and the 3rd stringers can hang... but you also can't reasonably expect them to play far beyond their means (incl. Zach's defense, Coby's FG% or adding a floater).

But 8th seed is such a low bar. I'm willing to choke on my cake if this team ends lower than 6th seed. I stand by circumstantial factors causing the post-deadline team to suck (inc. the embarrassing loss to the WCJ Magic)... and every problem that existed with this team last year (both iterations) has been addressed two-fold. IMO the pessimists will be eating crow as this team rolls with a .750 record into December (boosted by a very easy schedule the first month).

For the record, I don't think we'll be parading in Grant Park. Just plain facts: the East isn't very good, the Bulls have a strong depth chart, and zero weaknesses (just some short-comings, i.e. DeRozan/Vuc defense, Lonzo's dribble/bucket creation, Pat's aggressiveness, etc.). But I don't see any bad players who Donovan's going to HAVE to play (and get killed); like the dilemmas he had with having to run Gafford as starting C, Lauri at SF, closing with Valentine as primary ballhandler, running Coby at the point for 35 mpg, having Pat play a full-time role, etc.

I see a 2-4 seed on paper. Willing to gamble on one of those x-factors raising their percentages and defensive impacts. Not willing to gamble on Zach becoming a defensive freak, Pat/Lonzo jumping their PPG averages, or Coby adding a floater.
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Re: The Bulls path to better than 8th seed via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#7 » by DuckIII » Wed Sep 8, 2021 8:50 pm

Lonzo and Williams are both more than capable of putting up those numbers. It will all just depend on how the ball moves.
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Re: The Bulls path to better than 8th seed via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#8 » by WindyCityBorn » Wed Sep 8, 2021 9:07 pm

The thread has a faulty premise. We don’t need any unlikely improvement to do better than 8th seed.
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Re: The Bulls path to better than 8th seed via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#9 » by kodo » Wed Sep 8, 2021 9:16 pm

Somewhat related, Zach has been getting recognition as a not terrible defender.

https://sports.yahoo.com/team-usa-jay-wright-says-211305427.html
K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago stated that he spoke to someone who talked with Wright, saying that LaVine ‘blew the coaching staff away.’

“I was actually talking to somebody who is really close to Jay Wright, who is an assistant on the Olympic team, and Jay Wright was telling this guy that Zach just blew the coaching staff away with his role acceptance, his work ethic, his commitment to the defensive end,” Johnson said.
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Re: The Bulls path to better than 8th seed via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#10 » by sco » Wed Sep 8, 2021 9:21 pm

WindyCityBorn wrote:The thread has a faulty premise. We don’t need any unlikely improvement to do better than 8th seed.

Yeah, I'm changing the title/OP. Point wasn't getting to 7, it was becoming a top-tier team and pegging that to someone really stepping up more than linearly and who/why that could come about.
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Re: The Bulls path to better than 8th seed via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#11 » by Michael Jackson » Wed Sep 8, 2021 9:36 pm

MrSparkle wrote:I Just plain facts: the East isn't very good, the Bulls have a strong depth chart, and zero weaknesses (just some short-comings, i.e. DeRozan/Vuc defense, Lonzo's dribble/bucket creation, Pat's aggressiveness, etc.). But I don't see any bad players who Donovan's going to HAVE to play (and get killed); like the dilemmas he had with having to run Gafford as starting C, Lauri at SF, closing with Valentine as primary ballhandler, running Coby at the point for 35 mpg, having Pat play a full-time role, etc.

I see a 2-4 seed on paper. Willing to gamble on one of those x-factors raising their percentages and defensive impacts. Not willing to gamble on Zach becoming a defensive freak, Pat/Lonzo jumping their PPG averages, or Coby adding a floater.



I think the Bulls can get as high as the 3 seed potentially, but I do not agree that the east is not very good. I actually think the East is better than it has been in a long time. Detroit, Orlando and Cleveland are really the only 3 teams you can say don't have a shot at the playoffs (and they all have potential super stars on their teams but clearly not ready yet). the lack of separation of teams may make this season tough, IMHO. You have:

Nets
Bucks
Everyone else
Cleveland
Detroit
Orlando

So while the Bulls can be a 3 seed, its possible pretty much of anyone in the everyone else category the way I see it.

The Bulls have a very tough schedule out of the blocks and will have to develop chemistry, rotations and defensive schemes. I truly expect them to be pretty good by the end of the year and think the talent looks pretty good, but a ton of questions and may be off to a rocky start.
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Re: The Bulls path to becoming a tip tier team in the East via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#12 » by Dez » Wed Sep 8, 2021 11:44 pm

Via unlikely player development?

There's nothing unlikely about Lonzo, Pat, Coby and Zach improving, I don't get the premise of the thread? It only makes sense if you don't like this roster and there's no reason to not like it.
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Re: The Bulls path to becoming a tip tier team in the East via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#13 » by GrowingHorns » Wed Sep 8, 2021 11:57 pm

1. Firing AKME
2. Hiring Bugs Bunny
3. Getting Felicio back
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Re: The Bulls path to becoming a tip tier team in the East via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#14 » by The Force. » Thu Sep 9, 2021 12:19 am

I think the two biggest factors will be:

1) Zach increasing his defensive awareness
2) Pat becoming a moderately impactful player on both ends

If both of these things happen I believe the Bulls can be a top 4 seed in the east.
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Re: The Bulls path to becoming a tip tier team in the East via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#15 » by Michael Jackson » Thu Sep 9, 2021 12:39 am

The Force. wrote:I think the two biggest factors will be:

1) Zach increasing his defensive awareness
2) Pat becoming a moderately impactful player on both ends

If both of these things happen I believe the Bulls can be a top 4 seed in the east.



they can be, but that can be said about a lot of teams. We will see who is the real deal when the rubber hits the road. New York is expected to be worse yet, they added Kemba who if healthy addresses a major hole they had last year. not a game changer but they need what he provides if healthy. I think the hawks are better with hunter and reddish out there too. Celtics would have been better last year too in the playoffs if healthy. Hornets might be better. Really a lot of question marks in the east, just a huge middle pack group.
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Re: The Bulls path to becoming a tip tier team in the East via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#16 » by Wingy » Thu Sep 9, 2021 1:24 am

I voted Pat, as he obviously has the most room to grow. What I think most likely will be the collective group, and several guys taking a step forward- Pat, Lonzo, TBJ, Coby, while others maintain.
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Re: The Bulls path to becoming a tip tier team in the East via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#17 » by WindyCityBorn » Thu Sep 9, 2021 1:30 am

Michael Jackson wrote:
The Force. wrote:I think the two biggest factors will be:

1) Zach increasing his defensive awareness
2) Pat becoming a moderately impactful player on both ends

If both of these things happen I believe the Bulls can be a top 4 seed in the east.



they can be, but that can be said about a lot of teams. We will see who is the real deal when the rubber hits the road. New York is expected to be worse yet, they added Kemba who if healthy addresses a major hole they had last year. not a game changer but they need what he provides if healthy. I think the hawks are better with hunter and reddish out there too. Celtics would have been better last year too in the playoffs if healthy. Hornets might be better. Really a lot of question marks in the east, just a huge middle pack group.


I don’t Kemba Walker will ever be healthy again. Boston literally gave up a first to rid of him after one season.
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Re: The Bulls path to becoming a tip tier team in the East via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#18 » by MGB8 » Thu Sep 9, 2021 2:14 am

To be a top 4 team in the East?

1) LaVine improves in terms of drawing fouls and playmaking / avoiding turnovers - along with incremental growth on D

2) DeRozan shows a 3 ball equal to his best 3 point season in TO (just before the trade) and also shows that as a 2nd/3rd option, the extra energy he can expend on defense make him passable rather than poor

3) Lonzo continues incremental improvement on everything

4) Pat looks like a much improved version of the guy we saw early on (who struggled more down the stretch), especially on D

5) Vuc is healthy and doesn’t decline much at all

6) Coby’s improved defense from the last quarter of the season sticks and he is healthy amd improved as a bench offensive spark plug

7) The Carushow is more than just hype

8) One or two of Troy Brown, Javonte, Alize, Bradley, Simonovic, Ayo and maybe StanJohn prove they are ready for major nba burn
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Re: The Bulls path to becoming a tip tier team in the East via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#19 » by nomorezorro » Thu Sep 9, 2021 4:48 am

pat becoming Thick Mikal Bridges would be real nice
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Re: The Bulls path to becoming a tip tier team in the East via (unlikely) player improvements 

Post#20 » by Michael Jackson » Thu Sep 9, 2021 5:21 am

WindyCityBorn wrote:
Michael Jackson wrote:
The Force. wrote:I think the two biggest factors will be:

1) Zach increasing his defensive awareness
2) Pat becoming a moderately impactful player on both ends

If both of these things happen I believe the Bulls can be a top 4 seed in the east.



they can be, but that can be said about a lot of teams. We will see who is the real deal when the rubber hits the road. New York is expected to be worse yet, they added Kemba who if healthy addresses a major hole they had last year. not a game changer but they need what he provides if healthy. I think the hawks are better with hunter and reddish out there too. Celtics would have been better last year too in the playoffs if healthy. Hornets might be better. Really a lot of question marks in the east, just a huge middle pack group.


I don’t Kemba Walker will ever be healthy again. Boston literally gave up a first to rid of him after one season.


I don’t think so either honestly, but the Knicks were so in the need of someone like him, that it can’t hurt them really. Lots of their success is resting on the bodies of Kamba and Rose that’s a wobbly foundation for sure, but if lick goes on their side they should be a better team than last year. Personally I don’t believe in Randle at all either, but you know Thibs… he has taken teams farther than they were supposed to go. He can also crash and burn. That’s why the East is fascinating this year, really outside of the Nets.

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