The Chicago Bulls ranked 28th in offensive rating this season, giving them the lowest-ranked offense ever to make the playoffs.
Just three other teams have ranked even 27th and reached the postseason, and two of them are the Bulls of this era – 2004-05 and 2009-10. (The 2011-12 Boston Celtics also did it).
There’s no question which side of the ball Chicago must address this offseason. As successful as the Bulls have been, their offense has been a weakness, and the Washington Wizards showed in the playoffs just how vulnerable that makes Chicago.
Thankfully for the Bulls, they have the tools to upgrade, including the No. 16 and No. 19 picks in next week’s draft.
Chicago is aggressively trying to move its two first-round picks, according to rival executives. The Bulls are believed to be looking for either a veteran scorer or the chance to move up in the draft to select a young wing player with scoring potential.
The Bulls have been frequently linked to Carmelo Anthony, who’s a pretty talented scorer. He makes plenty of sense as Chicago’s main target, and those picks could definitely be useful in a sign-and-trade.
Or the Bulls could package the selections in other ways. With Nikola Mirotic’s rights and Jimmy Butler still on his rookie contract, Chicago has the flexibility to splurge on immediate help.
Derrick Rose is returning and Joakim Noah remains in place to fortify the defense, so the Bulls – if they use their flexibility right – could contend for a title as soon as next season. If Chicago can’t move the picks, building a wider young base wouldn’t be so bad, but this is the time to push chips into the center of the table.