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The Chicago Bulls are 8-3 and looking like one of the best teams not only in the Eastern Conference, but the entire league.
The additions of Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, and Alex Caruso has bolstered the Bulls roster alongside Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic to form a formidable, versatile team who can both score and surprisingly defend.
Chicago is coming off two impressive victories in a row against the Brooklyn Nets and the Dallas Mavericks after losing two straight to the Philadelphia 76ers.
ESPN’s NBA experts recently discussed the early-season success and disappointment across the league, which included the Bulls being named one of the teams whose early success seems to be sustainable.
Bobby Marks: “The Bulls. I am buying stock in what Chicago has been able to do. Not only does this team have the offensive firepower in All-Stars Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, but it is also starting to find an identity on the defensive end. The Bulls rank No. 6 in defensive efficiency, and the signing of Alex Caruso is proving to be one of the top under-the-radar signings of the offseason.”
Adding the likes of DeMar DeRozan was the biggest question mark of the offseason for the Bulls, as skeptics wasn’t sure how he’d fit offensively next to Zach LaVine nor how a defense with he and LaVine on the perimeter would be able to flourish.
Well, DDR and LaVine have balanced well off each other on the offensive end, as they both are averaging 26 points and 4 assists per game while shooting over 48% from the field. On defense, the Bulls are allowing just 102.4 points per game, which is fifth-best in the league, led by the defensive prowess of Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso.
Kevin Pelton: “The Bulls. I was a noted skeptic of the Bulls’ high expectations entering the season, but I’ve quickly come around. As I explored in last weekend’s NBA mailbag, there’s little to nothing fluky about Chicago’s surprising success at the defensive end. Meanwhile, DeRozan has fit perfectly at the offensive end. Even if his shooting drops off a bit, positive regression from Nikola Vucevic should keep the Bulls’ offense running smoothly.”
Outside of their core, players like Javonte Green and rookie Ayo Dosunmu have made a positive impact when on the floor.
The Bulls look to have already gone from a fringe playoff team to a potential top-4 playoff team in the Eastern Conference in just 11 games.