Have the expectations for this team changed from tanking for a top 5 pick to playoff hopeful?
Gene: The expectations of the team changed for me once they got 10 wins. The growth of Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen in such a short period of time is a little something to look forward to. With Zach back and the young guys gelling, we’ll probably end up with that dreaded 10th-13th pick.
Terrence: There was a time where it felt like the Bulls were settling in for a permanent residence in basketball hell…but those days are clearly over. Kris Dunn has silenced doubters and shown that he has the potential to be a very good player. Lauri Markkanen is turning heads with his play as a rook and Zack LaVine looks to not have missed a step in his return from ACL injury…but playoffs? Let’s not get greedy (yet).
How long until Lauri for ROY talks heat up?
Gene: The narrative for rookie of the year is already in order…Ben Simmons. Lauri is having a pretty good rookie season but it helps that he has free reign to basically do whatever he wants because of little to no expectation of this young Bulls rebuild. He’s been a bright spot.
Terrence: Becoming the quickest to drop 100 3s puts Lauri in some great company (Steph Curry, Ray Allen, Dirk, MJ) and there’s no doubt that his presence in the Bulls starting lineup has been felt since Game 1…he’ll certainly remain in the conversation all year but taking home the ROY hardware still feels too pipe dream’ish to go all-in on.
Niko…let him stay or let him go?
Gene: It’s obvious that a contract agreement is the only reason Niko is still in town. Whatever happened between he and Bobby Portis (which the Bulls PR did a great job of never leaking) have helped the Bulls play with an edge, but he hasn’t panned out and it’s time for him to rotate!
Terrence: It seems unfair that after years of being left out to dry on the hopes that Niko would touch some of the potential he had when he was drafted, he’ll likely be traded when he’s finally playing at a difference making level this season….but if the return is a first rounder or a couple of young guys that you can plug in now…why not pull the trigger?
With the dream of a top 5 pick drifting away with every W…are you happy or sad to see it go?
Gene: I’m sad to see the odds of the top 5 pick sink. But then again, the front office is known to jag a draft pick so at this point it’s whatever. I will continue to stand on the fact that until we do something up top, everything else will remain regulation. The sellout streak ended…what’s next??
Terrence: I personally admire the way this team has kicked dirt on the dreams of tanking…and with this incoming rookie class looking deep…softens the blow of not securing the Bagley.