The Chicago Bulls’ 2021-22 season is directly around the corner, and with it will come unabashed playoff expectations.
The first steps toward snapping the team’s four-year postseason drought were completed in the offseason, when the front office put the finishing touches on an all-encompassing roster overhaul. Now comes the task of ironing out the on-court issues that plagued an underperforming group last season en route to a 31-41 finish, which left them short of the play-in tournament.
But take heart in this fact, Bulls fans: Behind each significant acquisition of the 2021 offseason, there lies intention.
In a reprisal of a concept we typically reserve for draft season, here is one area of statistical need DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso (all of whom signed with the team this offseason and should take on outsized rotational roles) project to address:
The Stat: 110.4 offensive rating (21st in NBA)
How DeRozan helps: Yes, this is a wide statistical umbrella to brandish. But DeRozan can be the tide that raises the Bulls’ offense in a number of ways — particularly when it comes to areas the team most glaringly struggled in 2020-21.
First, it’s worth examining why an above-average shooting team (the Bulls finished last year ninth in field goal percentage and 13th in 3-point percentage) enjoying a supernova season from Zach LaVine finished in the bottom 10 in offensive rating. While not all-encompassing — and placing injury- or COVID-related absences…