The NBA season is right around the corner and it is about time for you to start thinking of the players you want to draft for your fantasy teams. Over the coming weeks, you’re going to see every team’s fantasy outlook for this upcoming NBA season…So far, I’ve covered the five teams in the Atlantic Division, you can check it out here. Let’s check out what Chicago Bulls did during the summer and see what kind of impact it will have on players’ fantasy stock for this coming year.
Notable Additions: Dwyane Wade (Miami), Rajon Rondo (Sacramento), Robin Lopez (New York), Jerian Grant (New York), and Denzel Valentine (rookie)
Notable Subtractions: Derrick Rose (New York), Pau Gasol (San Antonio), Joakim Noah (New York), Mike Dunleavy (Cleveland)
The Bulls were one of the busiest teams this summer as they overhauled almost their entire roster. Letting their core pieces leave, such as Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol, signifies a rebuilding phase for the Windy City. Now the keys to the team was given to Jimmy Butler after they shipped Rose away to New York.
Jimmy Butler – Butler had himself a decent year, ended up as the 15th best player on Basketball Monster’s player rankings. His all-around game is to be craved for, however, for the last three seasons, Jimmy Buckets has never played more than 70 games a season (67, 65, and 65 games respectively). Furthermore, the new acquisitions of Wade and Rondo are not known for their elite outside shooting, which causes spacing issues on paper for the Bulls. You’d expect Butler to shoot more threes next year but you can also assume that it would lower his efficiency.
Last season, Jimmy Butler had episodes of complaining about not having the ball and making plays enough while he was paired up with Rose in the backcourt. This coming season, he’ll start at the small forward spot, playing alongside with two ball dominant guards in Rondo and Wade. You’d expect him to have the ball a lot less, and not in a point-forward kind of role. ESPN has him at rank 24, which is around the late-second-round, which I agree with but Wade and Rondo are not known for their durability and one injury would skyrocket Butler’s fantasy stock.
Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo – The two new all-stars that joined the Bulls are going to have to answer a lot of critics about whether they can play on the court together. With teams in the league transitioning into spacing and outside shooting, the Bulls are doing the exact opposite. Wade made seven three pointers for the entire season for the Heat last year, and even though Rondo would make the occasional one, he’s not known for his outside shooting. Moreover, both players plus Butler, needs the ball in their hands for them to be efficient. Rondo had fifth-round value from last season, but don’t expect his assists to reach double figures again. If you’re punting threes and free throws on your team, Rondo is always a reliable source those kind of punts.
The Fantasy Fix rankings had Rondo at 61, which would be around the fifth-round in a 12-man league. Personally, that’s a bit too high, as Rondo never really played with a ball dominant guard before in his career, and specifically he has two ball dominant players. I’d draft him around late sixth-early seventh if he’s still there, depending on your team’s needs. On the other hand, Wade finished the season having eighth-round value, and The Fantasy Fix is ranking him 58th, above Kristaps Porzingis, Reggie Jackson and Marcin Gortat. Heck, I might even pick D’Angelo Russell over Wade. He’s not going to have the same amount of points (averaged 19 points last year), rebounds and assists numbers aren’t elite, and he contributes to no threes and not that many steals. His upside is not high, and the concerns about injuries for a 34 year old is real. I’d stay clear from Wade, when there’s better options at that position.
Nikola Mirotic – With the spacing as cramped as it is right now on paper, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nikola Mirotic to start the season over Taj Gibson. His outside shooting is going to be crucial for Wade and Butler to have any driving lanes to hoop. With averages of 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 threes, 0.9 steals and 0.7 blocks, he’s going to play an integral part for the Bulls to bounce back this season. He had a lot of expectations on him to breakthrough last year but ended up disappointing a lot of owners. This is the reason why some might sleep on him in the draft. Coming into his third year in the NBA, hopefully he’ll improve on his consistency game-in-game-out. More importantly, he’s probably the only player from the Bulls that has the green light to shoot. There is upside in Mirotic and having a seventh-round pick on him would be pretty ideal.
Robin Lopez – The big man the Bulls traded for, Robin Lopez, is going to be an essential part for Chicago. He had an awesome post-all-star period, and had mid-round value during that phase. He ended the season playing all 82 games for the Knicks, averaging 10.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 blocks at .539 from field and .795 from the line. He’ll continue to have this sort of production and as long as he runs hard down the floor, Rondo will find him for some easy points (as we all know Rondo would try and pad his assists). He’s reliable, consistent and wouldn’t hurt you in anything, which means you’ll have a bargain with him if you ended up drafting him towards the seventh-eighth rounds if you need a big. ESPN listed him at rank 124! Clearly someone is smoking something. He would shatter his ADP in ESPN drafts and you’re going to end up with a steal.
- Early-Rounds: Jimmy Butler
- Mid-Rounds: Rajon Rondo, Nikola Mirotic
- Late Rounds: Robin Lopez, Dwyane Wade
- Deep leagues: Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, Denzel Valentine
- Sleepers: Nikola Mirotic, Robin Lopez, Bobby Portis (deep-leagues)
- Busts: Dwyane Wade
Come back soon for the previews of the remaining teams in the NBA. Meanwhile, you can also hit me up @bfantasyhoops on Twitter!