2017-18 Chicago Bulls Predictions and NBA Futures Odds Picks
There is only one thing you need to know about the Chicago Bulls right now - they have the lowest season win total in the league. And even at 22.5 wins the oddsmakers feel like they are being gracious. This was a pretty underwhelming team last year - a playoff team that was gone in a flash - and they have been gutted of their only good players. They didn't get close to even value in return - at least in the short term. And they were uninterested in, or incapable of, replacing Jimmy Butler with another star. Their payroll is the lowest in the league by a fair margin, and the team should get what they pay for this year. This team is just plain tanking. Blatantly. Obviously. And, given the talent available in the draft next year, logically.
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2017 Chicago Bulls Betting Storylines
Zach LaVine, who came over in the Butler deal, is the only guy on this roster who has averaged more than 23 minutes per game for his career - and it's not like 23 minutes is a big barrier. And he is out for a while - and potentially the whole season, because there sure isn't a reason to hurry back - with a torn ACL. This is a ridiculously inexperienced team. Robin Lopez has started every game he has played for the last five years, so he is the veteran leader of this team. He is also, unfortunately, Robin Lopez. He's fine but not the guy any real team would want to have to rely on. Bobby Portis will likely get the first chance to start at power forward, but this may be the only team in the league he could start for. Nikola Mirotic will start some games as well, but it's not like he'll dominate games. And Lauri Markkanen, who was the best part of the Butler deal, is a rookie who will take some time. He has to be the future of the position, but it will take a while - and it's not like he has a star to show him the ropes.
We can play the same game with every other position, too. Kris Dunn, the likely starting point guard, has one hugely disappointing season under his belt. Backups Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne have two years each and have been less impressive than Dunn. Justin Holiday, who is likely the choice at shooting guard, had a career-best 7.7 points per game last year. Backing him up are two sophomores - underwhelming Denzel Valentine, and Lakers castoff David Nwaba. Nwaba has the edge between the two with six points per game. You get the point - things are every bit as bleak behind Lopez at center, or at small forward, with LaVine out. In an era where teams feel they need to have two or three superstars just to be relevant, Chicago boldly is going forward with none, and no more than one and a half guys that could potentially come anything close to one. There is so little upside here it's staggering. This team isn't even like a college all-star team. This is like one of those teams you get together for the third-rate tournament that top players wouldn't want to go to. The Chicago Bulls are the Shrine Bowl of the NBA.
The only thing that should really matter for this team this year is helping Lauri Markkanen develop by giving him whatever opportunities and resources he needs. In the best-case scenario he's the next Dirk Nowitzki. Even if he is significantly less than that he's still the best asset this team has by a wide margin at this point - unless the league starts awarding teams wins when their players win the slam dunk contest, in which case Zach LaVine deserves a max contract. Wins are going to be in short supply, and are totally irrelevant, so Markkanen is all that matters. The only other priority is getting as many ping pong balls in the lottery as possible, and that will take care of itself.
2017 Chicago Bulls Additions and Departures
We've covered a lot of this ground already. Butler was traded to Minnesota for LaVine, Dunn, and the rights to Markkanen. Dwyane Wade was bought out. Rajon Rondo was waived. Justin Holiday and Diamond Stone were brought in with understandably modest contracts. And aside from a few depth moves, that is the total of it.
2017 Chicago Bulls Futures Odds and Trends
Chicago Bulls Futures Odds
NBA title odds ( from BetOnline ) : +50000
Eastern Conference title odds : +20000
Lauri Markkanen ROY Odds ( from Bovada ) : +5000
Season win total (from BetOnline): 22.5
The Bulls didn't provide any profits on the sides last season - 42-40 ATS. The money was in the "under," though - they went under 49 times and "over" just 32.
2017 Chicago Bulls Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
Bad. Really, really bad. Less than 22.5 wins bad - almost certainly. Some truly bad teams are still fun to watch because their struggles are entertaining. The Knicks would qualify on that front. This, though, is just going to be sad. And pathetic.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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