Chicago Bulls: Time to tank after Lauri Markkanen injury?

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Expectations increased this offseason for the Chicago Bulls, but after the news of Lauri Markkanen’s injury, do they need to be drastically reduced?

After the offseason the Chicago Bulls had, it was reasonable for fans to have greater expectations than they did last season in which the team was in “full tank” mode. The offseason began with the Bulls drafting two seemingly quality players in Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison. The Bulls carried that momentum into July by resigning Zach LaVine and Jabari Parker.

Then reports of Lauri Markkanen’s offseason body transformation began to circulate, and by the time he reported to camp, he had reportedly put on 14 pounds of muscle. Even media day gave fans some good news stories. There were some good vibes around the Bulls until late Friday night.

News emerged late Friday night that Markkanen suffered a high-grade elbow strain and was expected to miss 6-8 weeks. The following day, the Bulls reported that he would not need surgery but the timeline for his return remained the same.

With the news also came whispers among fans as to whether the Bulls should consider the “t-word” again this season. Should they tank again? If the timeline holds, Markkanen will miss the entire preseason, and anywhere from  8-15 regular season games — give or take a few on either end.

Even when he does return, you have to figure it will take him another week or two to get his legs and rhythm back. This means if you’re a Bulls fan, you probably aren’t getting back a Markkanen at full strength until mid to late November.

Despite this, the answer to the question of whether the Bulls should take is an emphatic ‘no.’ Look, whether you have been a fan of their personnel moves or not, the fact remains that the Bulls core is in place. In Markkanen, LaVine, Carter and Kris Dunn, they have four former top-ten draft picks, and even LaVine was No. 13 overall. They don’t need more lottery picks — they need their lottery picks to become stars.

The only way they are going to do that is by playing together while fully committed to winning. This team needs to learn how to not only win together but win in the NBA. The Bulls struggled to keep its stars on the court last season with LaVine and Dunn both missing extended time due to injuries. They need to build that cohesiveness and figure out if this team that they built can compete.

Next. What does Markkanen injury mean to Bulls?. dark

All teams face adversity, and if the Bulls have visions of eventually competing for a championship, they will have to learn how to overcome it. That adversity typically comes in the form of overcoming injuries. So what better test than to weather the storm without their future franchise player. These types of character building moments for a team will serve them well in the future.

I’ve said many times in the past that this team needs to begin to make the transition out of their rebuild and into being a team that starts to compete for the playoffs. Another season of tanking is only going to set this rebuild and franchise back another year. It’s time to hit the gas and go.