The rebuild in Chicago is underway, and they have quickly built a pretty good front court, while also using guards from other draft picks, mainly Minnesota’s. The East is wide open after the first four spots, and Chicago might be an underrated team heading into this season. They have a strong back court with Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine, but also the added depth with Antonio Blakeney and Justin Holiday are strong options. Chicago brought in Jabari Parker and drafted Wendell Carter Jr, who will make an impact right away. This team struggled last season, but should improve heading into the new year.
This was once a light front court, but all of a sudden this team now has two quality players at each of the power forward and center position. Lauri Markkanen is looking like a future all-star, but Chicago brought in depth with Jabari Parker. This now makes Bobby Portis’ role pretty unclear heading into the season. Chicago has had Robin Lopez as their staple, but Wendell Carter Jr is the projected future center in Chicago. There are now a lot of mouths to feed, and Lopez is likely going to be the one who sees the biggest drop in minutes.
Jabari Parker bounced back from injury last season, averaging 24 minutes, and shot 48% from the field. In 51 games back in 2016, he averaged 20 points per game and 6 rebounds. Parker will give this team some more offense in the front court, but doesn’t do much defensively. Markannen is still the guy for the future, and the main player in this front court, so Parker’s ceiling seems a bit limited this season. Parker is headed to his hometown, but is also a free agent soon as well. This could be a showcase for him to get a contract and more playing time elsewhere.
The Bulls have been stockpiling picks, and also got a lot in the Jimmy Butler return. Looking at the power forward position, Lauri Markkanen, Jabari Parker, and Bobby Portis are all there. While they can play the three and even the five, they also have Justin Holiday and Denzel Valentine in line at the shooting guard and small forward positions. The backup depth at point guard is a little weak, but elsewhere this is a pretty locked in roster. Looking at the other teams within the conference, these backup players could be starting on a few other teams that lack depth.
Sure, Wendell Carter Jr is below Robin Lopez on the depth chart, but that won’t be the case for long. He is a terrific defensive player, and is a big physical center who can move as well. Chicago is getting a rim protector, and they have surrounded him with offense so he won’t need to have that be a focal part of his game. Carter Jr was a block machine, and many NBA experts expect that to continue into the NBA. The Bulls do have some depth at the position, and might use others when in need of immediate offense, but the minutes should be there for Carter Jr to showcase his worth.