The 2021 season was as promising of start for the Chicago Bulls as one could imagine. The Bulls struck gold in landing DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso, and the prize possession, Lonzo Ball.
Now, that last line may sound like hyperbole, but it’s not. Just take a snapshot of the first half of the season, and the last 43 games Lonzo missed, and the proof is clearly in the pudding.
With Lonzo on the floor for the Bulls, the team appeared primed for a deep playoff run, and potentially a championship appearance. In his absence, the Bulls looked incompetent at times, and struggled mightily on defense.
While Lonzo’s numbers never look like much to write home about (13.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 5.1 APG), his nuanced play and unselfish approach rubs off on teams where you simply cannot measure.
He’s the calm amongst a storm, and lightning bolt of energy that reverberates throughout the entire team. Once he went down, all of those intangibles left, and the Bulls season fell along with it.
Good news appears on the horizon as reports indicate Lonzo will be ready to go by the start of the 2022 season. He hasn’t played since January with what was diagnosed as a meniscus tear, and initial prognosis had him missing 4-6 weeks of time. However, due to multiple setbacks, the Bulls eventually pulled the plug and kept him out for the remainder of the season.
With Zach Lavine signing a max contract, DeRozan, Caruso, Nikola Vucevic, and others, this Bulls team can be the true force it was set to become in the East with Lonzo’s return in 2022.