About a month ago, the NBA released the 2019-20 schedule, and I am very much looking forward to this Bulls season. I ran through the games several times determining the wins and losses, and quite frankly, there is a slim chance that the Bulls could win more games than they lose!

OpSchedule19-20
It’s an optimistic look at the Bulls upcoming schedule! Green dots = wins, and I’ve got 50 of them here!

On paper, the Bulls are a (lower-) middle class team when it comes to talent in the NBA. They are more talented than the bottom feeders (i.e. Cleveland, Washington, New York), but still fighting for a seat at the Respec-table. After pouring over the schedule, a bad case scenario features the Bulls winning about 28 games, while losing a lot of close games against teams like Miami, Detroit, and Atlanta. Best case scenario, they win just under 50 games, beating all the bad NBA teams, going above .500 against the middle class teams, and surprising some of the good teams like Portland, Indiana, and Boston.

BadSchedule19-20
How’s it feel to feed at the bottom of the League? Pretty bad. Only 28 wins in this negative projection. 😦

With all the player movement this offseason it’s hard to get a bead on some of the Bulls upcoming opponents. Will Houston have personality clashes? Will KD come back from injury? How well does Boston play without Kyrie Irving and Al Horford? Does Jimmy Butler make Miami better? Can Giannis drag the Bucks to the promised land? With Kahwi on the Clippers and LeBron on the Lakers, is L.A. the new center of the basketball universe? This season, unlike so many before it, the league appears to be wide open. Anybody could win it all. One thing I can say with great certainty: It won’t be the Bulls.

AvgSchedule19-20
It’s the most reasonable run through of the schedule yet. 35 wins. Not great, but better than last season!

The most likely scenario for the Bulls this season, is a modest improvement over last seasons injury riddled performance. They were projected to win around 30 games last season, but fell far short of that goal. This season, the betting houses are expecting around 35 wins from the Bulls. After objectively looking at the schedule, I agree with Las Vegas, 35 or so wins is about right. In my heart I’m hoping for 45+, but my brain is telling me to take a chill pill.

The league, especially the Eastern Conference, is just too unknown at this time. The Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia ‘76ers appear to be the favorites, with Indiana and Boston nipping at their heals. Then it’s a quagmire of mediocre teams: Toronto, Brooklyn, Miami, Detroit, Orlando. The Bulls and Atlanta Hawks are poised to enter that same quagmire of mediocrity. Both teams are young and hungry for victories. Both teams shored up their rosters this offseason with veterans. But looking at Atlanta’s roster, I think they’re still too young, in key positions, to make a real push for the playoffs. The Bulls, on the other hand, should be squarely “in the hunt.”

HutchPreHammy
Chandler Hutchison, working on driving down the lane. Photo from chicagobulls.com

Injuries have been a recurring negative factor for the Bulls over the past several seasons, and there is no reason to think they won’t also effect the 2019-20 campaign. Already, Chandler Hutchison is missing several weeks of offseason workouts due to a hamstring injury he recently suffered. The impact of Hutch’s injury is exacerbated by the lack of faith fans have in the team’s medical staff, and the realization that he is one of the only true wings the Bulls have on the roster. If Hutch is sidelined for an extended length of time, it could throw a fat wrench in the Bulls rotations. For now, there is no reason to panic, (1) there is plenty of time for Hutch to heal before the season starts, and (2) it’s Chandler Hutchison, it’s not like we’re talking about the second coming of Scottie Pippin or anything.

 

As expected, the Bulls have officially parted ways with Antonio Blakeney. After bursting onto the scene as an unstoppable scorer in the G-League a couple years ago, Blakeney never really found his groove with the Bulls in the NBA. He took more shots than he passed, and those shots never seemed to go in. With still no viable trade materializing for Kris Dunn, the Front Office was forced to make a cut and bring the roster down to the League’s maximum limit. The Bulls now have 15 players on the NBA roster, with Brandon Sampson and Adam Mokoka on 2-way G-League contracts.

Before I get out of here, check out some highlights of the Bulls new Steward of the Point Guard Position, Tomas Satoransky, as he carves up the FIBA World Cup…


I’m taking next week off (unless some news breaks), so I’ll blog at you in two weeks! Until then, thanks for reading and GO BULLS!