The Chicago Bulls went 31-41 in the 2021 NBA season, finishing in 11th place in the Eastern Conference and missing out on the play-in tournament, an extended version of postseason play that adds two new competitors to the mix— still not enough for Chi-town.
This year, the Bulls 33-21, already surpassing their win total from last season ahead of this year’s All-Star Game, and are in third place in the East. They have two All-Stars in DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine and two studs in Lonzo Ball and Nikola Vucevic surrounding them, making them one of the most well-rounded teams in the league.
On top of winning games, Chicago most importantly wins MONEY; their 31-22-1 record against the spread in the 2022 campaign is fifth-best in the NBA and a major reason why they have become so popular amongst the masses.
The Chicago Bulls are FUN
Chicago has four takeover players in their starting five, which makes them dangerous and flexible with the ability to stagger their minutes and play stars with backups, depending on the situation.
Each of these four stars also offers something unique to the equation: Ball is a three-point specialist with incredible passing vision and elite defense, DeRozan is a master of the mid-range that has become a proficient facilitator, LaVine is an above-the-rim threat that can get as hot as a microwave in seconds, and Vucevic is a big man that can play outside or inside and dominate the glass.
Then, you throw in Alex Caruso, one of the most likable players in the league, coming off the bench; like Ball, he too is a Los Angeles Lakers product with a gift for passing the ball and air-tight perimeter defense. Guys like Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu round out the highlight-reel youth that Chicago possesses.
A common quality amongst all of these seemingly totally different athletes is that they play hard: all have been overlooked and doubted at the professional level, some more than others, and all believe that they have everything to play for. This team is reminiscent of the Miami Heat bubble team that pushed the Lakers to six games in the Finals, one that was devoid of true superstars but had quality, tough-nosed role players that were desperate to make an impact on the game.
With the film that Chicago’s players have put on tape, they have the makings of a surprise but logical competitor in the Finals
Winning Money is FUN
The Bulls put the world on notice when they started their year 6-1, securing statement victories over the Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, and Boston Celtics. They have since beaten most of the league’s powerhouses despite all of their important pieces missing time due to injury or COVID protocols.
When a team’s winning percentage is nearly identical to its success rate against the spread, you know that they are an excellent team, and this season, that is exactly what the Bulls have been.
Chicago has a fairly favorable slate of games coming up, with games against the Charlotte Hornets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, and Sacramento Kings filling out their schedule before the ASG. Only a game-and-a-half out of first place in the conference, they could easily assume the top seed in the East by winning all of these games.
Looking around the rest of the conference, the Bulls would match up with the Raptors if the playoffs started today; there is a long way to go until the end of the regular season, and the standings are likely to change, but there is a realistic path for Chicago to the Eastern Conference Finals and potentially an NBA Finals.
Regardless of if they make it to basketball’s biggest stage, there is one thing that they are guaranteed to make: money.
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