Bulls' 2021-22 roster breakdown: Who stays? Who leaves?

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Bulls' 2021-22 roster breakdown: Who stays? Who leaves? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

By now, it’s well documented how aggressively Artūras Karnišovas, Marc Eversley and their staff have flipped the Chicago Bulls roster.

Only Zach LaVine and Coby White remain from the group this regime inherited from John Paxson and Gar Forman in the spring of 2020.

And while Karnišovas has preached the virtue of continuity for the core, new faces will undoubtedly arrive by training camp in the Fall. So here’s one final look back at the 2021-22 Bulls roster, with a status check on each individual:

Billy Donovan

2021-22 statistics: 112.7 offensive rating (13th), 113.2 defensive rating (23rd) | three technical fouls (T-7th)

Comment: By 1.2 points per 100 possessions, this season marked the worst defensive rating of a Donovan-led team in his seven-year NBA career, a figure undoubtedly influenced by the long absences of Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso. In his season-ending remarks, Donovan pointed to needing to figure out why the 2021-22 Bulls handled adversity better earlier in the season than late. That said, Donovan’s positivity and even-keeled demeanor served as constants throughout a season of upheaval.

Status: Under contract and as much of a lock as anyone to return

DeMar DeRozan

2021-22 statistics: 76 games, 36.1 mpg | 27.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.9 apg | 50.4 FG%

Comment: In Year 13, DeRozan made his fifth All-Star game, posted a career-high in scoring and second-best field-goal percentage while playing the third-most minutes on his second-highest usage rate. It will almost certainly end in his third All-NBA selection. Simply put, DeRozan produced one of the most impactful seasons in franchise history.

Status: Under contract and as much of a lock as anyone to return

Zach LaVine

2021-22 statistics: 67 games, 34.7 mpg | 24.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.5 apg | 47.6 FG%, 38.9 3PT%

Comment: LaVine made his second straight All-Star game and was on track for a second straight dominant season until his balky left knee hindered his play at both ends. He still posted his second straight true shooting percentage over .600 and the fourth-best shooting percentage in clutch situations from the top-15 clutch scorers.

Status: Unrestricted free agency and more likely to return than not

Nikola Vučević

2021-22 statistics: 73 games, 33.1 mpg | 17.6 ppg, 11 rpg, 3.2 apg | 47.3 FG%, 31.4 3PT%

Comment: Vučević finished eighth in rebounding and as one of 13 qualified players to average a double-double. Still, his 3-point shooting marked his lowest since he shot the same percentage in 2017-18. Questions about his defensive fit alongside DeRozan and LaVine remain, particularly after injuries claimed Ball and Caruso and their stellar point-of-attack defense.

Status: Under contract and more likely to return than not

Lonzo Ball

2021-22 statistics: 35 games, 34.6 mpg | 13 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 5.1 apg, 1.8 spg | 42.3 3PT% (7.4 attempts per game)

Comment: From his ability to push pace offensively and create floor spacing with his shooting ability to his ability to blow up screens and create havoc defensively, Ball emphatically proved his worth at both ends. So much, in fact, that his inability to return from a bone bruise that preceded his left meniscus surgery torpedoed the season. His health is paramount.

Status: Under contract and as much a lock as anyone to return

Alex Caruso

2021-22 statistics: 41 games, 28 mpg | 7.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4 apg, 1.7 spg | 33.3 3PT%

Comment: Though he could stand to improve his 3-point shooting, Caruso’s defensive acumen and versatility, plus his physicality, injected the season with an element that permeated the team. When he didn’t play, it stood out. Like Ball, more consistent health next season is critical and a publicly stated focal point of the vocal leader.

Status: Under contract and as much a lock as anyone to return

Patrick Williams

2021-22 statistics: 17 games, 24.8 mpg | 9 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.9 apg | 52.9 FG%

Comment: A regular season severely limited by wrist surgery ended with back-to-back, 20-point playoff games and a ringing endorsement from DeRozan, who plans to take the physically talented wing under his wing. Consistency and playing with more aggressiveness are offseason focal points. The positional size, talent and physicality are all apparent — just not often enough.

Status: Under contract and as much a lock as anyone to return

Ayo Dosunmu

2021-22 statistics: 77 games, 27.4 mpg | 8.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.3 apg | 52 FG%, 37.6 3PT%

Comment: Played the fourth-most minutes behind DeRozan, LaVine and Vučević, both a sign of the team’s injury issues and, more importantly, Donovan’s immense trust in Dosunmu's demeanor, intelligence and skill set. The second-round pick played with an undaunted nature to his game. Few moments proved too big for him. And if they did, film study followed for sure.

Status: Under contract and as much a lock as anyone to return

Coby White

2021-22 statistics: 61 games, 27.5 mpg | 12.7 ppg, 3 rpg, 2.9 apg | 38.5 3PT% (5.8 attempts per game)

Comment: A season that began in delayed fashion following offseason shoulder surgery never quite achieved consistency. White’s role fluctuated — from starter to reserve, from off ball to on — and so did his playing time. By the playoffs, despite his 3-point shooting ability projecting to be both a need and a boon, he almost became an afterthought until injuries forced a lengthy Game 5 run.

Status: Under contract and a candidate to be moved for right opportunity

Javonte Green

2021-22 statistics: 65 games, 23.4 mpg | 7.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1 spg | 54.2 FG%

Comment: Took advantage of an unexpectedly large role to post career-highs pretty much across the board. What Green is good at is playing within what he’s good at — defense, energy, athleticism, hitting open shots — and not straying from the formula. But the Bulls will be better off if he’s in a reserve, energy role, not forced into the starting lineup by injuries.

Status: Under contract and very likely to return

Derrick Jones Jr.

2021-22 statistics: 51 games, 17.6 mpg | 5.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 0.6 apg | 53.8 FG%

Comment: Reclaimed a rotation spot in small-ball lineups down the stretch and into the postseason after experiencing success in a backup center role in November. Still, management will be seeking upgrades and more size for depth options.

Status: Unrestricted free agent and unlikely to return

Tristan Thompson

2021-22 stats (with Bulls): 23 games, 16.3 mpg | 5.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 0.6 apg | 56.5 FG%

Comment: Signed amid some fanfare because of his championship pedigree and outspoken leadership style, Thompson immediately landed in the rotation. But his on-court impact moved from prominent to pedestrian by playoff time. He can still offensive rebound but his defensive impact has slipped.

Status: Unrestricted free agent who is unlikely to return

Tony Bradley

2021-22 statistics: 55 games, 10 mpg | 3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 0.6 bpg

Comment: After starting the season as the backup center, he fell out of the rotation and underwhelmed in his first season in Chicago. On the one hand, his $2 million player option is near the league minimum so maybe he’s happy here and stays. On the other, he may be seeking a larger role for similar money.

Status: Player option and could go either way

Troy Brown Jr.

2021-22 statistics: 66 games, 16 mpg | 4.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1 apg | 35.3 3PT%

Comment: There were times when Brown Jr. seized opportunity with his rotational minutes and played like a bonafide, athletic wing. And there were others where he looked like an inconsistent player who has yet to find his NBA footing.

Status: Bulls can make qualifying offer but unlikely to return

Matt Thomas

2021-22 stats: 40 games, 11.5 mpg | 4 ppg, 1.3 rpg | 38.5 3PT% (2.3 attempts per game)

Comment: Surprisingly snagged final roster spot over Stanley Johnson because of his shooting ability. But between inconsistency in that department and a nagging leg injury down the stretch, he’ll perhaps be most remembered for his baseline calisthenics to stay loose.

Status: Unrestricted free agent who is extremely unlikely to return

Marko Simonović

2021-22 statistics: 9 games | 1.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg

Comment: Played 35 minutes all season. Enough said.

Status: Under contract and likely to return

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