Chicago Bulls: Upcoming schedule will be a great benchmark

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls are the surprise team of the NBA starting the 2021 season 4-0 for the first time since 1996. Next up is the much improved 3-1 New York Knicks– making this the marquee match up of the evening.

While the Bulls have started the season undefeated, they have had the luxury of facing a few of the bottom dwellers of the league.

The Bulls have played the Detroit Pistons twice who are without the number one pick Cade Cunningham. The New Orleans Pelicans without Zion Williamson. Also, the Toronto Raptors who seem to be in a bit of a transition with Kyle Lowry departing to the Miami Heat.

Awaiting is a twelve game gauntlet that will be the true measuring stick as to what this Bulls team actually is.

The Chicago Bulls upcoming twelve game stretch will show if they are a contender or pretender

The Bulls are the talk of the town as they seem to be the only team keeping Chicagoans from jumping off a cliff.

The Blackhawks are off to an 0-5 start and are the worst team in hockey. Meanwhile, the Bears have a new issue every week and most of the city would like head coach Matt Nagy to take a hike.

As we know, Chicago sports fans are some of the most passionate fans in the country and the Bulls have the city buzzing.

That being said, the upcoming schedule for the Bulls could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

The best way for the Bulls to attack this stretch is to break this up in sections. Find a way to go .500 and move on with the rest of the season.

Step 1

Looking at the schedule, the Bulls will get the first two at home. The Knicks are coming in playing with all of the confidence in the world beating the 76ers at home in what the New York fan base treated like a game 7. Furthermore, the Bulls will host the 2020 number one seed Utah Jazz who are also undefeated this season.

Step 2

The Bulls will take a mini road trip out East to take on two underperforming but still dangerous teams. Both the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers are coming off road loses and are looking to come home and right the ship.

It is only a matter of time before the Celtics find their footing and again become a powerhouse in the East with the dynamic duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylon Brown. In addition, when the 76ers are healthy, Joel Embiid can carry this team with or without Ben Simmons.

Step 3

Coming back home for three games, the Bulls will welcome the 76ers again, the Brooklyn Nets and the Dallas Mavericks.

The Nets are no secrete and are still the favorite to win the NBA title. Kevin Durant is playing at an MVP level averaging 29.8 points and 10 rebounds per game. As Batman had Robin, Durant has James Harden as his sidekick. Harden is struggling to start the season but containing the former MVP is easier said than done.

The Mavericks come in with a 2-1 record and are led by the 22 year old sensation Luka Doncic. Doncic is a handful slashing 23.7/11.3/8.7 per game. It will take a full team effort in containing him while keeping Mavs big man Kristaps Porzingis in check as well.

Step 4

The last and final step of the process is a brutal five game road trip out West. The Bulls will take on both the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers in addition to three teams in the top eight of the western conference including the current number one seed Golden State Warriors.

To add insult to injury, the Bulls have been historically bad out west. Since the 1999-00 season, the Bulls are 97-215 on the road against western conference teams.

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As mentioned, going .500 over the next 12 games would be a success in my eyes. The Bulls have the 14th ranked strength of schedule for the remainder of the season and can do damage in what seems to be a down year in the East. But like a wise man once said, if it was easy, everyone would do it.