Chicago Bulls fantasy basketball season recap

by Zak Hanshew, Rotoworld


At a glance:

Record: 39-43 (9th, West) 

Offensive Rating: 114.0 (19th)

Defensive Rating: 115.7 (22nd) 

Net Rating: -1.7 (20th) 

Pace: 96.9 (28th) 

2024 NBA Draft Picks: 11

Things haven’t gone quite the way the Bulls wanted in recent seasons. The team made a blockbuster trade for Nikola Vucevic to close out the 2020-21 campaign and brought in DeMar DeRozan just a few months later in a sign-and-trade deal. The additions of Vooch and DeRozan helped propel Chicago to new heights to kick off the 2021-22 campaign, and the Bulls went 27-13 through the first 40 games. The second half of the season was less memorable, and Chicago went 19-23 to finish with a 46-36 record and the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Bulls were bounced in the first round by Milwaukee in a gentleman’s sweep, and the team has now finished with a losing record in two straight seasons after going 40-42 in 2022-23. Chicago went all-in on its Big 3 of Vooch, DeRozan and Zach LaVine, and the results have been dreadful. The Vucevic deal that sent Wendell Carter Jr. to Orlando has not panned out, and one of the two first-round picks that the Magic received turned into budding All-Star Franz Wagner. Vooch signed a three-year, $60 million extension last summer, and he’s under contract with Chicago for at least two more seasons.

LaVine was limited to just 25 games last season, and Lonzo Ball has not played a game in nearly three years due to lingering knee issues. The Bulls are now at a crossroads, and this summer’s free agency period will surely be busy for a Windy City team that’s blowing in the wind.

While the real-world Bulls have been in turmoil, production in the realm of fantasy hoops hasn’t been too shabby. Here’s what to expect moving forward.

Fantasy Standout: DeMar DeRozan

“Boredom is the hallmark of success,” or so the old saying goes. DeRozan finished the 2023-24 campaign with his 12th straight season as a top-100 player on a per-game basis and ninth straight season inside the top-50. Because of his reliable availability, he finished with his ninth straight season as a top-50 player in total value. He also finished as a top-20 player in total value for the third straight season and fourth season in his last five. DeRozan has been a model of health throughout his long career, appearing in at least 74 games in 11 of 15 seasons.

In his third season with Chicago, he finished with 24.0 points on 48.0% shooting, 4.3 boards, 5.3 dimes, 1.1 steals, 0.6 blocks and a career-best 0.9 triples across 37.8 minutes. The playing time was also a career-high, as Zach LaVine was limited to 25 games, and Lonzo Ball missed a second straight season. Despite the monster minutes, DeRozan continued to be available, and he was effective as the team’s top option yet again. The highlight of the season was a 46-point outing at Indy on March 13, showcasing his elite scoring prowess this far into his career.

DeRozan will turn 35 next season, and it seems unlikely the Bulls will bring him back. It’s reasonable to expect he’ll sign with a team that doesn’t need him to operate as the go-to scoring option and playmaker, which means he could take a step back in production. We'll get a better idea of where he should be drafted after we know where he'll be playing in 2024-25.

Fantasy Revelation: Coby White

White came alive in 2023-24, averaging 19.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.6 triples while shooting 44.7% from the floor. He averaged 36.5 minutes and appeared in 79 games. The counting stats, FG%, minutes and games played were all career-bests for White, and he made a strong case for Most Improved Player.

White accounted for five double-doubles, and he dropped at least 30 points in seven regular-season games. Over the first four seasons of his career, he scored at least 30 points seven times in total. White went off for 42 points in the Play-In win against Atlanta before Chicago’s season ended with a brutal loss to Miami in the final Play-In game for the No. 8 seed.

White was known as a low-efficiency chucker over the first four years of his career, but he took on a leadership role last season and evolved into a go-to scorer and playmaker for a shorthanded Bulls squad. There’s a distinct possibility that both DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine will be gone next season, and White could see big minutes yet again. If that’s the case, fantasy managers should be comfortable drafting him inside the top 100 in 2024-25 drafts.

Fantasy Disappointment: Zach LaVine

After two straight seasons finishing just inside the top 50 in per-game fantasy value, LaVine’s Yahoo ADP was 50.3 ADP. He was drafted as an early fifth-rounder and finished disappointingly as a late seventh-rounder. His production was a let-down while he was on the court, and most disappointingly, he only appeared in 25 contests. LaVine underwent season-ending foot surgery on February 8, bringing an end to the underwhelming campaign.

He averaged 19.5 points, 5.2 rebounds (career high), 3.9 assists and 2.4 triples in his 25 games. The 2023-24 season was the first since 2017-18 that he averaged fewer than 20 points. The assists were his lowest mark since 2017-18, and the triples were his lowest since 2018-19. LaVine’s name floated around in trade rumors last season, but those whispers have become much louder after another poor showing from the Bulls. Will Chicago blow up its Big 3 after just three seasons and begin another rebuild? Running it back with this same roster would be the definition of insanity - “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

So long as LaVine is healthy, we can reasonably expect a top-75 floor and top-40 ceiling in 2024-25, but where he lands will bring his true fantasy value into focus.

Fantasy Recaps/Look-Aheads 

Nikola Vucevic: Like DeRozan, Vooch has been a model of consistency throughout his career. The 2023-24 season was his 12th straight as a top-50 per-game player, and he’s hit that mark every season except for his rookie campaign in 2011-12. Prior to the 2023-24 campaign, he was a top-30 player for six straight.

Vooch’s ADP was 47.4 ADP on Yahoo, and he finished the season ranked 46th in per-game value behind averages of 18.0 points, 10.5 boards, 3.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.8 blocks, 1.2 triples and 48.4/82.2 splits shooting splits. His points were up slightly, and his rebounds were down marginally, while his shooting percentages were down across the board. Vooch shot sub-30% from three for just the second time in his career.

He’ll be 34 this year, but fantasy managers should still be able to count on a double-double average and out-of-position assists and triples. He’ll likely be worth targeting in the mid-rounds of fantasy drafts, but the landing spot will be important in determining his fantasy value. It’s unclear who Chicago will keep on the roster next season, but Vooch is still under contract for two more seasons, and finding a trade partner may be difficult.

Ayo Dosunmu: He finished outside the top 200 in each of his first two seasons, but he nearly cracked the top 125 in 2023-24 thanks to a career-best campaign. Dosunmu closed out his third season on a monster run. He started all but one of his appearances after January 28 and ranked 66th in per-game value behind averages of 16.5 points, 3.3 boards, 4.8 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.6 blocks and 2.3 triples. In that span, he shot 51.4% from the field and 80.4% from the charity stripe across 36.9 minutes. He also knocked down 42.9% of his attempts from beyond the arc. He dropped a career-high 35 points on March 21 at Houston less than a week after going off for 34 against Washington on March 16.

Dosunmu has played at least 76 games in three straight seasons to open his career, and he’s trending in the right direction in the world of fantasy hoops. If Chicago goes into a rebuild this summer, he could have even more opportunity to shine in 2024-25. Keep an eye on the Bulls’ summer moves.

Andre Drummond: Drummond’s playing time increased from 12.7 minutes in 2022-23 to 17.1 last season. He averaged 8.4 points and 9.0 boards in limited playing time, posting a career-best 18.9 rebounds per 36 minutes. In 18 games with at least 20 minutes, he averaged 13.6 points, 15.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.4 blocks, and in 10 starts, he averaged 14.1 points, 17.9 boards, 1.1 steals and 1.8 blocks.

Drummond joined Anthony Davis, Domantas Sabonis and Jusuf Nurkic as the only four players to record a 25-rebound game in 2023-24, and Drummond was the only one to record at least two such games. The big man showed that he’s still an elite producer when given substantial minutes, and he could be back on the fantasy radar if he lands with a team that will give him more playing time.

Patrick Williams: Williams underwent foot surgery to end his season on February 23, and he appeared in just 43 games in 2023-24. He played all 82 in 2022-23 after logging just 17 games in 2021-22.

Over the last two seasons, P-Will has averaged just 10.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 0.9 blocks across 27.8 minutes while shooting 45.7% from the floor and 83.0% from the charity stripe. He’s been solid as an on-court defender, but that two-way play has failed to show up in the box score, and he’s been a disappointment for fantasy managers. It’s unknown whether the Bulls will bring him back this summer, but no matter where he lands, he won’t be worth rostering in fantasy hoops outside deep leagues.

Lonzo Ball: He last played on January 14, 2022, and while he’s made progress in recovery, there’s still no timeline for a potential return. Avoid him in 2024-25 fantasy drafts.

Restricted Free Agents: Adama Sanogo, Henri Drell, Patrick Williams

Unrestricted Free Agents: Javonte Green, Andre Drummond, DeMar DeRozan

Player Option: Torrey Craig