On Friday morning, the Chicago Bulls made two appearances on ESPN analyst Zach Lowe’s column “Ten things I like and don’t like.”
The Bulls are interesting enough again to be on the national media’s radar, so I guess it’s time to celebrate!
First, Lowe talks about Zach LaVine’s slow but noticeable evolution into a playmaker. Guest blogger Will Gottlieb did a fantastic breakdown on the same topic a couple of weeks ago.
What struck me in this part of Lowe’s analysis was his insight into where he thinks LaVine’s ceiling will be:
I am still not buying LaVine as a Most Improved Player candidate, or future alpha dog of an NBA contender. He is not James Harden -- wing operating as point guard -- no matter how much the Bulls push it. He turns the ball over too much, jacks at least three horrible shots per game, and gives back so much of his offensive production with clueless defense.
So, according to Lowe, LaVine won’t be the best player on a contending team. Is Lauri Markkanen that player for the Bulls, or is he a really good supplemental piece on a contending team like LaVine likely is?
Do the Bulls currently have the alpha-dog superstar who can lead them to a championship? If the answer to that question is no, a lot is riding on ping pong balls bouncing the right way on May 14. The team perpetually gets relegated to the fringes of the free-agency bonanza, and the Bulls might not be lottery bound next season in a weak Eastern Conference with their improving roster.
Sure, a trade to get that player is possible. But landing in the top two or three in the NBA Draft this season and perhaps picking up a generational talent in Zion Williamson or a budding superstar in Ja Morant [who plays a position the Bulls need help at] could be the best way to get that type of player. There’s no guarantee that a 19-year-old kid will turn into an absolute superstar, but perhaps the draft is the best way for the Bulls to get one at this point, right...?
Okay, off the soapbox. Back to the Zach Lowe article.
I knew I wasn’t the only one who thought this:
Speaking of the Bulls, let’s give a long overdue nod to their city edition jerseys -- one of this season’s best new uniforms:
That’s a gamble. Four colors -- blue, red, black and white -- can be noisy, but the blue is serene and the black grounds everything. The Bulls and Sixers (with their Rocky-themed uniforms) unveiled two of the only jerseys in NBA history featuring no lettering at all on the front. That works here, too; the four stars -- taken from Chicago’s city flag -- are a familiar local referent.
My favorite part: the blue-on-black lettering of each player’s name on the back. Gorgeous. Blue on black is a consistent winner; it has always been so for the Orlando Magic. I also like that the Bulls kept the lettering plain, without shadowing or any border. It’s a clean look.
The Chicago Bulls City edition uniforms were awesome last season, and Nike somehow found a way to one-up themselves.