It’s season preview season, and ESPN rolled out their RPM-based power rankings this week. After their writer Zach Lowe appropriately hand-waved the Bulls out of the general NBA conversation in his piece, this version of the season preview gives more information.
Some of it is a total trolling of the Bulls front office, with their ‘best trade’ idea being a reversal of the Jimmy Butler one they just made. But more biting was this succinct takedown by Kevin Arnovitz of this whole PATH the Bulls are so proud of themselves for:
There's no trove of future first-rounders, and there's no can't-miss rookies or sophomores to ignite hope.
As a tank-humper will tell you (between thrusts), the Bulls do have their own pick, projected to be pretty good because they will suck. But if you’re banking on that to unilaterally save the franchise, it’s then troubling that by ESPN’s measurement the Bulls are merely the 25th worst team in the league.
They have the Knicks, Kings, Hawks, Suns and Nets as worse than the Bulls projected win total of 30.1 (a tenth of a point higher than New York).
This is a pretty significant increase of a their earlier ranking from earlier in the summer. It looks to be because they’re factoring in Nikola Mirotic (a projected 1.9 RPM-win player) and factoring out Dwyane Wade (who’s bad now and worth negative wins). The number is also helped by their favorable rating of the bench unit, because they project Jimmy Butler trade acquisitions Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn as significant individual negatives.