The Chicago Bulls were one of the most aggressive teams in the NBA offseason. Besides trading away multiple picks to land Nikola Vucevic at the deadline, they proved that they want to compete right now with the additions they made in the summer.
The Bulls got Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso and put the cherry on top of the sundae by adding DeMar DeRozan.
It had been a while since the Bulls landed an All-Star in free agency, and even though some experts believe that they're just marginally better than last year, the former Raptors star wants to shut away all of the outside noise:
‘‘I never try to put too much thought on Vegas or whoever comes up with the odds they come up with because you don’t know how hard we’re working, how bad we want something, how much we are fighting for something,’’ DeRozan told the Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘It’s bigger than just somebody’s predictions and how we are approaching it.
DeRozan knows what it's like to be slept on and then shocking the world. It happened to him during his days with the Raptors, so he doesn't read too much into projections and that stuff:
‘‘This is an opportunity for a talented group that has a chip on their shoulders. You kind of run faster when the dog is chasing behind you. That’s the type of mentality we have to have going out there this season. ‘‘I’ve been on teams where we were picked to be in the tank, and then we win 50 games and make it to the third seed in the Eastern Conference,’’ DeRozan said. ‘‘I’ve heard it all. You can’t indulge in it. You can’t let history depict what your future is going to be like. You just have to go out there and set the tone and take on the challenge. With this group of guys and the talent we have, everybody is willing to take on whatever that next challenge is.’’
The Bulls won't have an easy path to the playoffs next season but they're a much better team than they were last year, at least on paper.
Hopefully, all their new pieces will mesh well together and they'll be back to where they belong as one of the best franchises in the Eastern Conference.