The Chicago Bulls need some consistency and improved defense at the point guard spot. Coby White has been playing much better of late, and that includes his 25-point performance on Friday night against the Boston Celtics, but the team still needs to address the position over the offseason.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (h/t Blake Schuster of Bleacher Report), “point guard is going to be at a premium for them,” and Chicago is reportedly targeting two young point guards in free agency to fill the gap.
Wojnarowski appeared during a pre-game segment on ESPN’s NBA Countdown, and he alluded to Chicago targeting the New Orleans Pelicans’ Lonzo Ball and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Dennis Schroder.
The interest in Ball isn’t news for Bulls fans. There was a much-discussed trade that didn’t materialize at the deadline with New Orleans earlier in the year. Instead, the Bulls added Nikola Vucevic in a deal that added another All-Star alongside Zach LaVine.
Things got off to a rocky start after the trade deadline. The roster struggled to find continuity. LaVine caught COVID-19, missed a handful of games, and the team fell out of the Top-10 spots in the Eastern Conference.
While they are playing well, winning both games since LaVine returned, it may be too late to make the postseason, and point guard remains an area of opportunity.
Dennis Schroder Would Be an Upgrade
Schroder is not having his best season (15.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.8 apg), but he’d still be an upgrade over White from a defensive standpoint. Considering the Bulls are tied for 13th in the NBA in defensive rating, it is clear, there is a need on that end of the floor, and it all starts with perimeter defense.
Schroder has the speed, length, and willingness to pressure point guards up the floor and in the half-court. He won’t be as susceptible to the pick-and-roll offense as White, and most of the Bulls’ point guards have been all season. Chicago is desperately in need of an athletic veteran who won’t be taken advantage of on a nightly basis on defense.
Lonzo Ball is the Ideal Fit
While Schroder would be an upgrade at point guard, Ball would be the ideal addition to Chicago’s starting lineup for multiple reasons. Defensively, he has the physical toughness, size, and basketball IQ to be an above-average defender on the perimeter.
At 6’6″, Ball has the length and athleticism to defend up to three positions. Offensively, he’s among the game’s better passers. The Pelicans have taken the ball out of his hands a bit in favor of running their offense through Zion Williamson; Ball is still averaging 5.8 assists per game.
Passing has always been the best part of Ball’s game, but it’s his growth as a shooter–both from three-point range and the free-throw line that has been most impressive during the 2020-21 season.
The 23-year-old is shooting a career-best 37% from three and 78% from the free-throw line. Ball has revamped his shot motion and become a more than capable shooter overall. When you mix the improved shooting with his size, defense, and playmaking ability, he’s on the cusp of becoming the kind of floor general that could take the Bulls’ offense to another level.
Ball is rumored to love Chicago and to have a strong interest in playing for the Bulls.
Perhaps the Bulls didn’t make a move for Ball at the trade deadline because they knew he was interested in playing for them, and signing him during the offseason wouldn’t require the team to part with draft and player assets.
If that’s the case, the onus is on Chicago’s front office to fend off any other suitors and to make Lonzo love them.