By Adnan Basic
The Chicago Bulls 2017-18 season has been interesting, to say the least. Many assumed the team would tank the year away, and it seemed like that was the plan early on. The Bulls traded star Jimmy Butler to Minnesota for some youngsters with potential. Chicago was the worst team in the league by a country mile at the start of the season, but that began to change. It started with the return of Nikola Mirotic from an injury, who kickstarted a 10 game win streak for the Bulls, pushing them up the NBA standings. The team came back to Earth after awhile, but were winning more games than experts thought they could. Now, as All-Star weekend approaches, Chicago sits at 18-30. This was much better than anyone was expecting at this point.
The biggest asset acquired by the Bulls in the Butler trade, Zach Lavine, finally returned from an injury on January 13 in a win against the Detroit Pistons. The former dunk champion suffered an ACL injury last season, and was out for nearly a year. He has been slowly brought back onto the team, as coach Hoiberg has put him on a minute restriction.
Bulls fans like freshman IMC major Eric Kron are excited to see him back, and hope he can be a key part of this growing Chicago team.
“I remember watching him with the Timberwolves last season, and thought he had something to him. It was cool to see him traded here, and I just hope he can put his injury behind him to prove himself with the Bulls,” Kron said.
A key game this season was when the Bulls faced the Warriors in mid January. Golden State is the league’s best team by a fair margin, and the matchup served as a good barometer to see how far this team has come. Chicago had a promising start to the contest, and were able to take a narrow three point lead into the half. However, the dreams of an upset were washed away in the third quarter. Golden State outscored the Bulls 32-12, taking a big lead and never looking back. Although the night ended in a loss, fans were able to take some positives from the game.
“I was expecting the Bulls to get blown out of the water,” said freshman psychology major Angie Hurtado-Perez. “The fact that they kept it close against the best team in the league shows that this team might not be so terrible after all.”
Although it seems like this Bulls team won’t be making the playoffs this season, the future is looking bright. Both Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn have both been invited to the Rising Stars challenge, which is a game that showcases the best young talent in the NBA.
Freshman elementary education major Sara Berrum has enjoyed watching Markkanen grow as a player this season. “I remember most were skeptical when he was taken on draft day. It was a bold move by the front office, but it looks like it might just be paying off,” Berrum said.
For now, it seems that the Bulls front office is going to continue this rebuild. Rumors are rampant that Chicago will trade away Mirotic and Lopez before the deadline, and it seems likely the Bulls will try to get as many draft picks as possible in return. The team will suffer in the present, but these moves should help build further toward the future, and might eventually bring the Chicago Bulls back to the playoffs.