2018 Chicago Bulls Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
I'm not sure that I understand the Bulls right now. They have taken a bunch of players, thrown them together, and hoped that they will turn into a core to build around. And it could work - they certainly have amassed a lot of offensive talent. But in the NBA the whole is often much less than the sum of the parts, and there is a good chance that that could be the case here. There is some upside - not a ton, and probably not enough to get into the playoffs, but some. But there is also a pretty good chance that they won't be able to make all of the pieces fit together and that they will spin hopelessly towards a coaching change and another summer of change and confusion. I lean much more towards the camp of the latter than the former.
Kris Dunn broke out last year, and he was a big part of whatever success the team had. But the third-year guard is also an example of just what I don't get about the team right now. He's a guard who needs the ball and who is efficient enough that you are happy to give it to him. But the team has invested heavily in Zach LaVine and Jabari Parker, two inefficient scorers who absolutely demand the ball regularly. Dunn will have to work hard to get them the touches they need, and that will by necessity come at the expense of his own touches. So, they have taken one of their real strengths last year and weakened it. Sadly, that seems like it has become the Bulls way.
Speaking of LaVine, if I was a fan of the Bulls I would not be thrilled about how the team is tied to him now. He is an explosive, bouncy player. But he has missed big chunks of the last two years with injuries, he's a ball hog, and he's not particularly efficient. The Kings made a crazy offer to the restricted free agent of $80 million over four years. Insanely, the Bulls quickly matched it, so now they are tied to him for a long time. He's far from the worst player in the world, but I can think of a whole lot of ways I would rather spend that much money than on him.
This is already Fred Hoiberg's fourth year with the Bulls, and he has won fewer games in each season. If he doesn't start to show some progress early on he could be on really shaky ground, and that could be a distraction. Ultimately, he wouldn't be a huge loss - he hasn't taken to the NBA game particularly well after his college success. But coaching instability can be a real problem for teams.
2018 Chicago Bulls Additions and Departures
Spending too much money on LaVine wasn't enough, so they went out and spent another fortune on another inefficient ball hog who doesn't believe in playing defense and is coming off an ACL injury. Jabari Parker scores, but he doesn't do too much more than that, and he needs to have the ball a lot. If he, LaVine and Lauri Markkanen can co-exist, and Dunn can share the ball without hurting his own game, then it could all work out. But there sure is a lot of downside here.
The team had two first-round picks - their own and one from New Orleans - and they picked well. At seventh they grabbed Wendell Carter Jr. from Duke. The big man was far from the first option on a ridiculously deep Duke team last year, but he played well and has obvious talent. Shining without being close to the first option, and excelling while playing alongside a dominant ball hog like Marvin Bagley, could be good training for him here. He is an excellent defender. And while it will take some time to figure out how he and Markkanen can be on the court at the same time, the upside is definitely there. He's a good one. The other pick is, too. At 22 they picked guard Chandler Hutchison from Boise State. He's a strong outside shooter who is effective at both ends of the court. He's probably not a star, but he is a prototypical player in this league as it is evolving. There is value here.
2018 Chicago Bulls Futures Odds and Trends
NBA title odds ( from Bovada ) : +30000
Eastern Conference title odds : +8000
Wendell Carter Jr. ROY Odds: +1100
Season win total: 29.5
The team was 41-40-1 ATS, so they weren't an easy team to bet on over the course of the season whether you liked them or not. They went "over" the total 41 times and "under" 38, so there were no profits to be found there, either.
2018 Chicago Bulls Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
I probably haven't hidden my disdain for this team very well. The offseason decisions weren't good. I like the core of Markkanen and Carter, and I like Dunn if they can get back to using him in ways that make sense. But Parker and LaVine aren't positives for what the team is trying to do, and Hoiberg doesn't have a long future here. It's going to be a long year. I'd take the under on the season win total.
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