Bulls 'a Skeleton of What They Could Have Been' Entering Bucks Series, Says NBA Scout

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVApril 12, 2022

Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan, right, looks to pass as Charlotte Hornets forward Cody Martin guards during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Friday, April 8, 2022. The Hornets won 133-117. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

There is not much optimism among scouts and league executives about the Chicago Bulls unseating the Milwaukee Bucks in Round 1.

"Chicago's a skeleton of what they could have been, unfortunately," one scout told Josh Robbins of The Athletic. "Lonzo Ball’s out, and they're just not the same team. They've struggled recently. Their defense is questionable. They've had a good year."

The Bulls went into the All-Star break tied with the Miami Heat for the best record in the Eastern Conference, emerging as one of the biggest surprises of the season's first half. They've been one of the sport's worst teams since the break, going 8-15, a mark better than only two East teams (Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards).

If you're keeping track at home, yes, that means the Bulls were a worse team than the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic over the final stretch run of the season.

Injuries have played a large factor in the downfall, with Ball and Alex Caruso missing significant time and stripping Chicago of its two most consistent perimeter defenders. The Bulls had the NBA's sixth-worst offensive and defensive rating after the All-Star break, per NBA.com, getting outscored by 7.1 points per 100 possessions. Only the tanking Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder were worse.

So, suffice it to say, playing a first-round series against the defending NBA champions at the moment isn't exactly an ideal scenario for the Bulls.