No more bullshit in Chicago — these Bulls are good.
The team is off to its best start since 1996-97 — the Michael Jordan era — and though it’s only been four games, something feels different here after so many years of futility.
At 4-0, these Bulls are looking renewed and invigorated after an offseason overhaul that saw them bring in players who’d been discarded by other teams. Chicago’s core has been built around one returning star in Zach LaVine, and three castoffs: Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, and Alex Caruso.
Ball’s time in New Orleans had clearly run its course after two years, and he needed a fresh start in the worst way, especially after baby bro LaMelo stormed the league with Charlotte and won Rookie of the Year honors. And Papa Ball didn’t exactly help Lonzo out with all his trash talk before he’d even stepped onto an NBA court.
DeRozan was shipped from Toronto to San Antonio a couple of years back for Kawhi Leonard, and the Raptors won a championship immediately. That’s enough to make any athlete question themselves and their place on any team. Running into LeBron James and the Cavs all those years didn’t help DeRozan’s situation in Toronto either.
Caruso is the only player of this group who has championship experience in the NBA. Winning a title in his third year alongside LeBron and Anthony Davis, Caruso became a vital role player during the Lakers’ championship run in the Orlando bubble. It’s up for debate whether Caruso no longer wanted to be in Los Angeles, or they just didn’t want to pay him. Both rumors have been reported, but either way, he’s now made his home in Chicago.
LaVine finally has a crew behind him that compliments his style, and the 26-year-old has a lot to prove to the world. Having been called nothing more than a slam-dunk artist for the better part of his career, he now has the chance to show his doubters otherwise. The Bulls have 78 games left on the schedule, and no one expects this team to break any records for wins in a season. But a meaningful playoff run will go a long way in helping this core change the narrative set by the outside world.
The biggest competition in their division is, of course, the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. For some odd reason, these teams won’t meet until January, but a convincing win or two against the Bucks would go a long way for this young Bulls team, and might even put them in a position to steal the Central division. Either way, this is the best the Bulls have looked talent-wise in a long time. Whether they snatch the central away from Milwaukee or not, the Bulls have a great shot at making the playoffs for the first time since 2017-18. I’m sure all Bulls fans will take that to start this new era of basketball at United Center.