Why the Bulls are coming back

Brendan Reidy , Sports Writer

The Chicago Bulls have been mirrored in mediocrity over the last few years. Bulls fans, like myself, have had to deal with tremendous heartbreak. With LeBron James terrorizing the Eastern Conference, and Derrick Rose tearing his ACL, Bulls fans have seen the worst of the worst.

They have been looking for someone or something to save them, and pull them out of the abyss they’re in. However, with LeBron out of the East, and an exciting young core in place, is it finally time for the Bulls to come back to relevancy? The answer is yes, and I will tell you why.

First things first, the Chicago Bulls have a promising young core. Every player in the potential starting lineup will be 25 years old or younger. The lineup will consist of Kris Dunn at point guard, Zach Lavine at shooting guard, Jabari Parker at small forward, Lauri Markkanen and power forward, and Wendell Carter Jr. at center.

Let’s start with Dunn, he was the No. 5 overall pick in the draft a few years ago, and was acquired in the Jimmy Butler trade a summer ago. Last season he averaged a quiet 13 points, six assists and four rebounds, and was one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA last season.

What people don’t realize is that in Russell Westbrook’s second season in the NBA he averaged a very similar stat line. I am not saying he is going to be a future MVP like Westbrook, but there is a lot of potential in the Bulls point guard of the future.

Zach Lavine will be the shooting guard of the future. He was a former lottery pick, and two-time dunk contest champion. He has shown flashes of All-Star potential throughout his career, and was thought to be the centerpiece of the Jimmy Butler trade.

Last season, Lavine was coming back from a torn ACL. He was not 100 percent back, but still showed fans flashes of what’s to come. He had his best game on national television when he was matching up against his former team the Timberwolves.

In that contest, he dropped a team high 35 points, while also hitting the go ahead three-pointer in the final minute. Other than that game, he played solid. He averaged 16 points, three rebounds and three assists last season. While not tremendous numbers, it was enough for the Bulls to give him a four-year extension.

This summer, Lavine has gotten back to 100 percent and said his goal is to have an All-Star caliber season. That motive, in itself, should have Bulls fans excited for the future of the franchise.

The newest addition to this young Bulls squad is hometown legend Parker. Parker went to Simeon High School on the south side of Chicago where he became one of the most highly recruited high school players of all-time. Jabari was then drafted number two overall by the Milwaukee Bucks, and things did not go as planned. Two ACL tears later and a backseat role to Giannis Antetekounmpo in Milwauee, Jabari was the odd man out. He played out of position most of the time for the Bucks, playing at power forward instead of his natural position of small forward.

Parker became a free agent this summer, and instantly was targeted by his hometown team. The mutual was interest, and Parker signed with the Bulls on a one year, prove it, kind of deal. This is perfect for the Bulls because they have a former top-two pick that has a chance to resurrect his career with a change of scenery.

Lauri Markkanen was one of the best players in the rookie class last season. In fact, he has already surpassed every record set by a Finnish basketball player in his rookie season.

The 7-foot sharpshooter was quite the surprise his rookie year. He averaged 15 points to go along with six rebounds. While some believed he was a project, he seems more than ready to elevate his game to All-Star level next season.

Before you call me crazy, listen to this. Markkanen statistically had a better rookie season than Kristaps Porzingis, and look how improved Porzingis was in his third year. If Markkanen can do the same things Porzingis did, besides tearing his ACL, the Bulls will be legit playoff contenders.

Carter Jr. was the most recent player added to this exciting young core. The Bulls drafted the standout Duke player number seven overall. This summer, he made the first-team all-summer league team, and showed us all what he can do on both sides of the ball.

Right now, he predicts to be a very strong post defender, with a developing offensive game. He has the ability to space the floor with his shooting, and it will be interesting to see the 1-2 punch of him andMarkkanan down in the post.

While this Bulls team is young and unproven, it will be very interesting to see this Bulls team play. They have a lot of potential. It is only a matter of time before things start to click again in the Windy City. Hopefully it’s sooner, rather than later.