Chicago Bulls: The new starting lineup looks a lot like South Beach

Once upon a time, the Chicago Bulls transformed their roster from one of the youngest and underdeveloped in the NBA to one with three all-stars and two stars on the rise.

The Bulls’ new starting lineup, currently without barring any new roster moves, looks like — Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Williams, and Nikola Vucevic.

That means Coby White, Alex Caruso, and maybe Lauri Markkanen will head the second rotation. Ayo Donsunmu and Marko Simonovic head the back end of things on the roster.

With today’s NBA management style being centered around bringing in as many all-stars as the team can, the Bulls have certainly exceeded. They brought in Vucevic just before the trade deadline and DeRozan now in the offseason.

This is also without acknowledging the strong additions of Ball and Caruso in the backcourt too.

Obviously, the roster is completely transformed. While there is still work to do to fill the rest of the roster spots and possibly make a move with Markkanen, Billy Donovan has a playoff-caliber roster to work with on both ends of the floor.

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How does the offense look with the new additions?

To be frank, the players have a similar look and feel to the starting lineup of the Miami Heat. The Heat have a perfect mix of defensive specialists, shooters, facilitators, and playmakers in their lineup. The Bulls have put together a similar lineup.

Let’s make some loose player comparisons between the new Bulls and Heat roster.

The Heat just added Kyle Lowry to be their starting point guard. Lowry is a hustle man, known for his defensive caliber on the perimeter, facilitating, and scoring ability. He averaged around 18 points, seven assists, and six rebounds per game last season.

Ball has similar characteristics to Lowry. He is an excellent defender, creative facilitator, and growing playmaker that is starting to formulate a reliable shot. Ball is becoming an aggressive three-point shooter, taking 8.3 three-pointers per game last season.

Jimmy Butler is the focal point of the Heat’s offense. Butler often works as a small-ball power forward, constantly working his matchups into the low post and facilitating for the shooters around him.

Butler plays extremely similar to DeRozan. DeRozan is a gifted finisher and an always elusive mid-range shooter, like Butler. Neither of the two can shoot from long range very well, but use their physicality and creativeness around the rim to thrive on offense. Butler is definitely a better defender than DeRozan, but DeRozan can hold his own.

Because of the small ball style, the Bulls have adapted, having to use either DeRozan or Patrick Williams at the four spot, the teams both have skilled centers to help them on both ends.

Bam Adebayo is one of the best rim protectors in the NBA. With a defensive rating of 108 and one of the better defensive box plus/minuses in the league, Adebayo is a huge asset on both ends. He averaged 18 points per game last season, sinking 57 percent of his shots.

Vucevic is Chicago’s Adebayo. Certainly, Vucevic is nowhere near the same defender as Adebayo. However, Vucevic is a much more versatile offensive center than Adebayo and provides a much different offensive game than the rest of the lineup. He and Adebayo give their teams different offensive options, making them unpredictable, which is important for a small-ball lineup.

As for the Heat’s newly re-signed sharpshooter, Duncan Robinson, the Bulls have the scales in their balance with LaVine. LaVine is a much more elite scorer and has many levels to his game compared to Robinson. LaVine’s ability to shoot the ball, slash, and facilitate make him adaptable to any offense — a huge asset for the Bulls.

The Heat just signed P.J Tucker as their power forward. The Bulls have their defensive transformer in Williams, who was assigned to some of the toughest athletes in the league last season, like Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James. Williams is not on the defensive caliber as Tucker, but can guard nearly every position on the floor, and can help on the offensive end too.

What does this mean for the Bulls? 

The Bulls, in short, have plenty of options on offense. Between Vucevic working in the paint, LaVine doing his thing in different forms, DeRozan working the small ball post, and Ball steering the ship facilitating from behind the arc — the Bulls have offensive versatility.

Luckily for the Bulls’ priorities in their signings, their players can play defense. Between the strong perimeter defense of Ball and Caruso, and the building frontcourt defense of Williams and DeRozan, the Bulls’ defense should be much improved from last season.