Chicago Bulls 2016 Preview
2015 Season Review: 42-40, 4th in Central Division, 9th in Eastern Conference
Playoff Finish: Missed Playoffs
Offensive Rating Rank: 24th
Defensive Rating Rank: 3rd
Pace Rank: 12th
Rajon Rondo (Free Agent – Sacramento Kings)
Dwyane Wade (Free Agent – Miami Heat)
Robin Lopez (Trade – New York Knicks)
Denzel Valentine (Drafted -1st Round, 14th Pick)
Isaiah Canaan (Free Agent – Philadelphia 76ers)
Jerian Grant (Free Agent – New York Knicks)
Michael Carter-Williams (Trade – Milwaukee Bucks)
Pau Gasol (Free Agent – San Antonio)
Joakim Noah (Free Agent – New York Knicks)
Tony Snell (Trade – Milwaukee Bucks)
Aaron Brooks (Free Agent – Indiana Pacers)
E’Twaun Moore (Free Agent – New Orleans Pelicans)
The Chicago Bulls starting five will look a lot different heading into next season with only two returning starters. Individually, names like Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo make fantasy owners drool – but put them all on the court at the same time and for me the thought is a lot less appetizing. Although they will still be productive, I think their individual values will take a slight hit due to usage and scoring dilution.
Rondo will still drop dimes like a madman and should repeat as the league’s leader in assists. Last season he had 839 assists which is five assists better than 2nd place Russell Westbrook at 834. If that doesn’t sound very impressive let me add that Rondo did it in 8 less games. If he can keep a level head and not get stupid technical fouls Rondo will have another great season for fantasy owners. Dwyane Wade needs to keep him in check although historically Rondo doesn’t seem to care what anyone says or thinks.
Jimmy Butler is the guy that takes the biggest fantasy hit on the offensive side of the ball. He’s been a 20 point per game scorer the last two seasons and it will be hard for him to duplicate this output if the other starters stay healthy. Last year he was the second ball handler on the first unit behind Derrick Rose; he averaged 4.8 assists per game and I’d bet my house that number will drop by at least 1 now that he will be splitting touches with Rondo and Wade. The good thing for Butler is now that he doesn’t have so much pressure on him to score, he can focus more of his energy on defense where he can rack up points with steals and blocks.
Dwyane Wade left Miami, the city he’s played for his entire career, and came to Chicago to play for the city he loves. He is the elder statesman on the Bulls and an instant leader on the team. He’s getting up there in age and entering his year 35 season he has seen his minutes per game decline in each of the last four seasons. Now that he plays for Chicago, every game (especially at home) will seem like narrative street for Wade after his cousin was shot and killed this summer in the Windy City. Wade still has something left in the tank – expect to see him play with passion and determination this season.
I love the Robin Lopez signing. With Gasol and Noah moving on, Lopez steps in as the heavy favorite to start at center for the Bulls. His defense is suspect, but he moves well for a big man, and he’s great at setting screens and rolling to the rim. Last season it seemed every time he went over $6000 on DraftKings he would put up a dud. Try to get him under $6K and there’s a good chance he’ll meet or exceed value.
Nikola Mirotic should round out the starting five and might get lost in the mix sharing time with bigger names. He can really provide spacing at the four and last season he hit 39% of his three point attempts. A season ago he had a tendency to disappear if he didn’t start hot. Hoiberg would pull him early if he didn’t knock shots down. If he did start out hot then fantasy owners were in for a fun night. He had a very slow start to the year and when he started to get hot in January, he missed time due to an appendectomy. When he returned, Mirotic went out of his mind for the last two months of the season shooting 43.6% from three in March and 46.9% in April. For what it’s worth, Mirotic is in the last year of his deal with Chicago so he has incentive to play well for a big contract next season. If he doesn’t crack the starting rotation Taj Gibson is the next man up.
Behind Taj Gibson is fantasy cult favorite, Bobby Portis. His minutes are so unclear though that he isn’t much of an option. He is high energy and very raw as an NBA player, but he needs to defend better and develop a jump shot. In a short stint last year he had some nice double-double games at a very cheap price. Once teams started paying attention to him, however, he dropped off and saw his minutes vanish. If news breaks that he will start or get increased minutes he can make for a very nice GPP punt play.
Mike works in pharmaceuticals and is a diehard fan of all Boston based sports teams. He’s been playing DFS for a little over a year and enjoys all sports, but his favorite is NBA. He is mainly a cash game player, but likes to throw his hat in some GPPs as well. In his first year he grew a $50 deposit into a few thousand dollars. He dreams of grinding away and growing his bankroll so one day he can quit his job and do DFS full time.