As part of a new series of articles produced exclusively for Sky Sports by NBA superfans from across the UK, we’re looking at the state of play for every franchise with preseason set to get underway at the end of this month
By Jimmy Zincke
Tuesday 6 September 2022 06:31, UK
Chicago Bulls fanatic Jimmy Zincke assesses the 2021-22 season for his team, and then casts an eye ahead to 2022-23.
My name is Jimmy Zincke and I run the UK Chicago Bulls account.
I’m a kid of the 90s and that’s why I’m a Bulls fan! I got into basketball through my older cousin. He was obsessed with Michael Jordan and I quickly realised why. I remember watching clips and being truly amazed by what MJ could do. He didn’t seem human. I’m still not sure he actually is!
Regrettably, I did have a long spell of not following the game and only got back into it at the start of the 2016 season. I felt I had a free pass on who to support but naturally I found myself cheering for the Chicago Bulls. That season we had Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo and it looked like it was going to be a very promising first season back, only for it to end in just scraping the eighth seed and a 4-2 first-round exit to the Boston Celtics! The team then decided a big rebuild was needed, so Bulls fans had four years of, quite frankly, terrible basketball! It’s safe to say that since my return to basketball fandom, it’s been a pretty rough ride.
I started this account because I’d seen a few people start a Bulls-related account and then quickly lose interest. I strongly felt that a team the size of The Chicago Bulls deserved a consistent UK fan account and that’s what I’ve tried to do over the past three years.
You can find it @UKChicagoBulls on Twitter & Instagram and I’m lucky enough to have the official Chicago Bulls account following me on Twitter. I also have a podcast which will be coming back very soon called ‘No Bull’, so look out for that.
My favourite current players are Alex Caruso and DeMar DeRozan. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know all about my borderline obsession with Alex Caruso. His hustle is unmatched and he’s a leader both on and off the court. DeMar DeRozan is a superstar, a real lovable guy as well and without doubt, the best hugger in the league.
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Last season was very much a mixed one for the Bulls. Despite injuries, we had a solid regular season and were even leaders of the East for around two-thirds of the season before dropping off the pace after the All-Star break and ending up finishing as the sixth seed. Facing the Milwaukee Bucks (the defending champions) in the first round of the playoffs was always going to be a big ask and as expected, we came up short. Our standout player was easily DeMar DeRozan. Despite many of the media claiming he was a bad signing for us (with some even saying “the worst free agent signing of the offseason”), he was an All-Star starter and made the All-NBA second team. He was even in the MVP conversation for periods of the season. The chemistry DeMar and Zach LaVine shared was a joy to watch.
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improvements were made and up until the All-Star break where were fighting for the top spot in the Eastern Conference but ultimately, we dropped off a cliff. Our record against winning teams was also a big worry. In fact, in the regular season, we were 0-16 against the top three teams from each conference and that just simply isn’t good enough.
A big talking point for Bulls Nation this offseason was getting Zach LaVine to sign his extension and to try to add another top player to this roster (ideally a shooting wing). While they managed to sign Zach to the max, we didn’t add the other need. There wasn’t a ton of free agents available this summer but there were a few that certainly could have improved the current roster. Sadly, we missed out. That said, we did pick up two seasoned vets in point guard Goran Dragic and centre, Andre Drummond, who can both no doubt be very valuable additions.
Another new face in Chicago is 20-year-old rookie Dalen Terry, whom the Bulls selected with the 18th pick in the draft. While we can’t read too much into Summer League, Dalen showed signs that he could be a future star of this league and he certainly doesn’t lack confidence. Marko Simonovic played in the Summer League for the second year running. Marko spent a lot of last season with the Bulls G League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls. Although Marko also showed some qualities in Summer League, I expect him to remain in the G League for the majority of this coming season.
I would rate this offseason as a D. Teams around us got better and we have added very little. For me, we could have been more aggressive in trades and I believe we could’ve landed Jerami Grant, someone many Bulls fans (myself included) believed would’ve been a solid improvement.
Other than the two additions mentioned, The Bulls are basically running it back. That doesn’t concern me too much as I truly believe if we can keep the roster healthy, we really can cause anyone problems. I feel the most important player for us is Lonzo Ball. Lonzo played just 35 games last season due to injury and this is something all Bulls fans desperately hope won’t be an issue this coming season. Our promising forward Patrick Williams was also out for the majority of the season through injury, playing just 17 games. Williams will be just 21 going into this season and is someone the organisation rates extremely highly.
If we can get Lonzo back for the start of the season and keep our key guys healthy, I really am confident the Bulls can improve from last season. We absolutely have to at least make the top six again and hopefully make a better run in the playoffs this time around.
The thing I’m excited about most for this coming season is FINALLY getting to see the Bulls live! I was planning a trip there two years ago but the pandemic put a stop to that. I am now planning on getting there towards the end of this year and once the schedule is released, I’ll be booking my flights. The Bulls also travel to Paris in January and I am planning on being there too.
People should watch the Chicago Bulls this season because they were one of the most exciting teams to watch for the majority of last season and if we can stay healthy, it’s going to be a lot of fun.
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