The Chicago Bulls made quite the splash in the offseason adding Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, and DeMar DeRozan. Will these additions be enough to catapult the Bulls into the playoffs? Is there value on the Bulls to make the playoffs by the current NBA odds?
The Chicago Bulls are in the final year of Zach LaVine’s current contract and therefore have a major motivation to prove to LaVine that this franchise is a winner. The Bulls added Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, and DeMar DeRozan in the offseason to help strengthen their core for their playoff push.
While I disagree with the addition of DeRozan for the high salary cap cost and the assets that they gave up (Thaddeus Young, draft picks, and cap space) he does make the team better for this year. For the sake of this article and our wagers, that’s all we need to be concerned with.
The addition of Lonzo Ball will definitely help the Bulls, who are lacking on the defensive end. Lonzo is a great individual defender and a strong team defender, which makes him the ideal candidate to shore up the Bulls’ defensive ineptitude.
Ball has developed a three-point shot and is not a ball-dominant point guard, so he fits in on the offensive end as well. Pairing him with LaVine will give the Bulls backcourt some size, a trait they lacked last year when they often ran Coby White or Tomas Satoransky next to LaVine.
The increase in the quality of perimeter defense should help the Bulls in an area where they fell short last season… rim protection.
Another strong perimeter and team defender came to the Bulls in Alex Caruso. Caruso was a fan favorite of the Los Angeles Lakers and does all the right things to help his team win without needing shots or touches to be effective.
This was the second of the Bulls’ smart moves this offseason, directly addressing their weaknesses as a team. After two offseason moves, the Bulls were headed in the right direction.
The Bulls seem to be blinded by star power and ignored their needs when DeMar DeRozan became available. DeRozan is an excellent shot maker and good in the clutch, but with LaVine, Coby White, and Vucevic, the Bulls were hardly in need of clutch scoring. DeRozan is also a poor defender, which could potentially leave three of their five closing players as net negative defenders.
DeRozan will also be a challenge to work the rotation around. Minutes with Coby White will probably also suffer on the defensive end as well. But DeRozan does bring veteran leadership and the ability and knowledge and how to win games, and the Bulls are hoping that these intangibles will make up for his lack of defensive prowess.
The Bulls are counting on a major leap in development in 2nd-year player Patrick Williams. Williams can potentially provide many of the things the Bulls wanted with now-departed Otto Porter Jr. If Williams can defend well and hit at least 36% from 3, he will be an important contributor to Chicago’s playoff push.
The Bulls are coached by Billy Donovan who I think is the epitome of an average NBA coach. While Donovan is not particularly strong or particularly bad in certain areas, there is nothing that you can really point at to show that a Donovan-led team excels in any way that they would not under a different coach. I think Billy Donovan neither adds nor subtracts any games from the Chicago Bulls regular-season win total.
The bookmakers obviously believed these additions will help the Bulls make the playoffs as they are lined at -200 to make the playoffs (play-in games do not count). These NBA odds are far too steep for the Bulls to make the playoffs. I believe there is value in the Bulls to miss the playoffs at the NBA odds of +160.
The Bulls failed to make the playoffs last season and while the addition of DeRozan will be helpful, they will still have the same defensive deficiencies in an Eastern Conference that is only growing stronger by the year.
The Raptors and the Pacers will definitely improve, the Knicks and the Hawks seem better; it’s hard to see where the Bulls fit in in this playoff push. Therefore when looking at the NBA odds the Bulls to miss the playoffs at +160 is the right NBA pick.
NBA Pick: Chicago Bulls to miss the playoffs (+160)
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.