NBA

The Bulls make Goran Dragic’s signing officially official, here’s where the roster stands

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Nobody knows why they waited so long, but the Chicago Bulls made the signing of Goran Dragic official on Tuesday afternoon.

First reported on July 3, Dragic’s addition came as a major surprise to the entire league. Not only had the 13-year-old veteran been constantly linked to joining his Slovenian friend Luka Doncic in Dallas, but the Bulls were already stuffed at guard. The organization only doubled up in the backcourt during the draft as they selected energetic youngster Dalen Terry with the No. 18 pick overall.

However, there’s no denying that this Bulls roster came in need of locker room veterans this summer. Alongside Andre Drummond (who, despite being a surprisingly young 28), Dragic will provide a level of playoff experience and on-court composure that this group can use as they look to take the next step in his fight for the Eastern Conference. Not to mention that Lonzo Ball’s knee status remains very murky, Dragic at least provides head coach Billy Donovan with a steady hand to plug in and play at the top of the key.

So with that announcement finally made, I thought we might as well check out where the current roster stands. Training camp is about a month away, and chances are the group that appears on paper today will be the ones that will be in uniform on opening night.

Your current 2022-23 Chicago Bulls roster:

Zach LaVine (SG)
DeMar DeRozan (SF)
Nikola Vucevic (C)
Lonzo Ball (PG)
Alex Caruso (G)
Patrick Williams (PF)
Ayo Dosunmu (L)
White Coby (L)
Derrick Jones Jr. (F)
Dalen Terry (G/F)
Javonte Green (W)
Andre Drummond (C)
Goran Dragic (PG)
Tony Bradley (C)
Marko Simonovic (PF/C)
Justin Lewis* (F)
To be determined

Thoughts?

The roster looks pretty darned like last season, which is exactly what that front office said they wanted heading into the summer. However, the free agent signings of Dragic and Drummond – in theory – give the Bulls more reliable options off the bench, especially considering names like Troy Brown Jr. and Tristan Thompson who sat there all season. last. And, of course, Terry is another attractive recruit to add to the mix.

The problem with that is that the Bulls didn’t fix what many would consider their glaring holes after last season. While Dragic is an adequate threat to catch and shoot, he is not a high-volume downtown sniper. Similarly, even with Drummond showing progress in his new reserve role over the past two seasons, no one would consider the new backup big man a notable rim protector. Even Terry, whose two-way potential is tantalizing when you consider where the Bulls grabbed on draft night, isn’t someone the Bulls should expect to solve in the short term.

Now, if we’re looking for a silver lining, the rebound should be much improved. Drummond can single-handedly solve some of the obvious problems in this department, as he continues to be one of the best rebounders in the NBA on both sides of the ball. He’ll surely come in handy for a Bulls team that lacked size and ranked a lackluster 17th in rebound percentage in 2021-22.

The other problem — if you want to call it that — is the Bulls’ crowded backcourt. Again, this squad is set to go deeper than last season, which we can all agree is a good thing after so many names appeared on the injury report last season. However, not only could this blockage make it difficult to determine the best rotations, it also means that there is still a potential problem with wing defense and frontcourt size.

The Bulls allowed their opponent the 9th most points in the paint last season. The return of a healthy backcourt from Ball and Caruso should help solve some of their defensive issues, but we’re still only talking about a few defensive options downstairs. A lot of weight will fall on the shoulders of Patrick Williams, who is just 21 years old and just completed a season where he appeared in a total of 17 regular season basketball games. Sure, Derrick Jones Jr.’s seven-foot wingspan can come in handy at times, but it’s still scary that the Bulls decided to re-sign the six-foot-six forward instead of looking for a sizeable backup. more traditional. forward power.

If we want to get technical, I guess we could say that Marko Simonovic and Tony Bradley have the size the Bulls might be coveting at times this season. The big juicy problem, though, is that neither has proven they can eat consistent minutes at the NBA level, so…yeah…too bad.

I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer. I have a lot of optimistic thoughts heading into this season, especially regarding LaVine, DeRozan and Vucevic playing even better as the main three. But I still have some significant question marks about where this list stands as a whole, and thought I might as well voice some of them here.

That said, the last thing I will say for now is that the Bulls’ second two-way slot appears to be available. While earlier reports suggested the front office had extended Malcolm Hill a two-way qualifying offer, there seems to be a chance they either withdrew it, or Hill decided not to sign it. In other words, Marquette’s Justin Lewis is currently the only official two-way contract heads to training camp, which means there could be an open competition for second place next month.

Could this be a potential spot for another big man? What about Javon Freeman-Liberty, who the Bulls announced that they had signed before the Summer League (I guess some kind of Exhibit-10 contract that would run during training camp)? Either way, it’s always fun to have a little competition in the practice gym! Training camp can’t come soon enough.

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