The Chicago Bulls have had an exciting free agency that has put them in a position to revamp their status in the NBA, continue to develop their young assets, and bring in a veteran leader in Thaddeus Young. With many off seasons with underwhelming signings and lack of involvement with players that could've helped the team, seeing the Bulls have a unanimously productive offseason is refreshing for all Bulls fans.
In the draft, the Chicago Bulls made one of their best moves of the last few years, not trading future assets to move up. NBA fans have seen many teams' near futures derailed because of risky draft day trades where they have given up many future assets. Instead, the Bulls stayed pat at #7 and took the best fit and the best available in Coby White out of UNC. White is the exact player Jim Boylen offense needed to push the ball in transition and be an efficient and aggressive shooter off the dribble and driver. White needs to work on playmaking, however, all scouts agree that will come with experience in league with the Bulls.
Diving deeper into the Bulls future first-round pick, Coby White, the point guard shows that transforming from a shooting guard is hard and is inevitable to have growing pains, but White has demonstrated a significant part of his game. White can push the ball very effectively and beat anyone else in transition. When White is balanced, his shot is very consistent from all over the court and can create chances off the dribble or the catch. He is in the 95th percentile in off the catch threes. Also, White's shot is very fluid and rarely changes shape even if White contorts his body.
Additionally, White has the heart and competitiveness necessary to be great; he needs to fix some intangibles. He shows off his vision often, and when he is consistent, his passes lead to open shots for his teammates and rarely does not lead to assists. Additionally, he is an excellent ball-handler rarely does he have the ball farther away than right at his hip which helps him gather for a shot or any other part of his offense, it keeps him in control. On defense, when White is trying, he has efficient shot contests as he uses his speed and wingspan and he can effectively switch on to bigs off of pick and rolls.
Along with White's strengths, his transformation into a combo guard came with some weaknesses. For example, on both sides of the ball, White continually stares the ball too much and does not realize he has cutting lanes or is losing his man on defense. He can get open on offense but rarely moves without the ball and stays above the arc watching the ball. When he has the ball, he tends to settle for tough shots and dribbles right away when he has the chance rather than waiting to give up dribbling ability. He is also way too in love with the step back as that is his go-to move when he is being irritated on the offensive end, this stops the flow of the offense hurting his progression and the ball movement. On the defensive end, he is very inconsistent and loses his man at times while looking lost off the ball. White is not a great or aggressive rebounder in any way.
Regardless, Coby White has excellent potential as a combo guard in the NBA. However, he has numerous parts of his game that he must improve to get there. He must become more efficient on both sides of the ball. In Summer League, White showed an ability to play make off pick and rolls and in transition but shot poorly from three.
Building on the momentum of staying at 7 and getting the player they needed, the Bulls made a great selection by going with Center Daniel Gafford out of Arkansas in the second round at #38. Gafford, a projected first-round pick, slid in the draft because of disbelief he could be a real offensive threat in the NBA. In Summer League, Gafford has proved his haters wrong by averaging 13.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in just 24.9 minutes in five games. Additionally, Gafford shot 68% from the field, showcasing his high efficiency all over the paint.
Looking closer into Daniel Gafford's game, he is an energetic big that is perfect for a modern NBA fast-paced team. He is always running the transition with guards and fills his roles perfectly. Very useful post-up scorer and floater, however, the game revolves around his defensive game. He is a dynamic rim protector and defensive anchor who is always talking and helping every matchup while not leaving his man open. Understands how not to foul and continue to disrupt shots all over the court. However, outside of the paint, on offense Gafford is virtually invisible. Needs to figure out a consistent mid-range shot to take his game to the next level. Also needs to learn more finesse moves instead relies on athleticism and size. Overall, Gafford will be an excellent defensive anchor and player in today's NBA. He has all the tools to be an energy producer off the bench that energizes a team's defense. A young team like the Bulls is perfect for him where he will get a lot of minutes and continue to develop and show his ability to change the game's speed and energy.
Then, in free agency, the Bulls used cap space on versatile veterans to help the development of the young prospects and bolster the bench unit of a projected playoff team. The Bulls secured Thaddeus Young on a three yr./$41 million deal in the first few hours of free agency. This signing made so much sense for the Bulls and the development of their star Lauri Markkanen. The Bulls now have a forward off the bench who could play the 4 or 5 positions and is the definition of durability. The last two seasons, Young has played in 81 games respectively. Young also is a team leader and is now the veteran captain on a young, developing team. To help White's development, the Bulls signed Tomas Satoransky to a three yr./$33m deal. Satoransky, 6'7'' point guard, can play all guard positions along with the 3. In Washington, when Wall was healthy, Satoransky played 54% backup point guard, 37% shooting guard, and 9% small forward.
These two signings scream versatility, which is what the Bulls are preaching throughout this offseason. Having players off the bench that can play two or three positions is vital and so helpful when developing a whole starting five of players.
Along with these two signings, the Bulls used the rest of their cap space to sign a lengthy 7’1’’ shooter in Luke Kornet to bolster the space of the offense and re-sign point guard Shaquille Harrison, an energy bunny off the bench on both sides of the ball.
Six months ago, the Bulls needed a high-ceiling point guard, forward help off the bench, and critical pieces that can play multiple positions and run with the point guard which is what they did in the offseason. With a wide-open NBA, the Bulls could make a move in the Eastern Conference and continue to move up the ranks for years to come.