• The Bulls finally took the plunge into the ravine that is tanking before the 2017-2018 season and they did the best they could to accumulate ping pong balls. During the draft they traded star Jimmy Butler and the 16th overall pick to the Timberwolves for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and the 7th pick which they used to take Lauri Markkanen. This move allowed the Bulls to take shots with three young players while they continued to build a roster more suited for third-year coach Fred Hoiberg. They saw surprisingly positive results at times, but ultimately led a successful tank campaign that led them to a 27-55 record with the sixth slot in the upcoming NBA lottery.

    Editor’s Note: You can check out the rest of our Post-Mortems here.

    Overview

    The Bulls had one of the more interesting seasons for a tanking team. It started in the preseason when Bobby Portis landed a knockout blow to then-teammate Nikola Mirotic during a fight that broke out in practice. Mirotic spent time in the hospital and missed the first 23 games of the season while Portis received an eight-game suspension from the team. Once Mirotic did return to action the team went on a tear and the Portis-Mirotic combination turned into the ‘1-2 punch on the court’ that won seven straight games and put into question if the team was actually trying to tank or not.

    After the team returned to normal play, Zach LaVine also made his return from ACL surgery on January 13. The Bulls took it slow with LaVine to start as he had a slow but sure increase in minutes and appropriate rest days to insure he would not compromise his health at all. LaVine seemed to have his bounce and explosiveness back but not quite the efficiency we wanted to see out of him – as if he wasn’t efficient enough anyways. Two weeks later the team managed to get a first round pick for Nikola Mirotic, and multiple other smaller pieces, which ended up being the only first round pick dealt in-season – the Bulls front office retroactively did something correct!

    Once the all-star break came and went the Bulls started their own personal silly season, which was not fun for any fantasy owners. They told Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday that both would see a heavy decrease in minutes, if they saw any time on the court at all, in order to further their player development – tank. This was then followed by a warning from Adam Silver and allowed those that followed the Bulls closely to get some entertainment out of them.

    After a season of tanking and mixing in a multitude of players into the rotation, the Bulls have a few decisions to make this offseason. They have already stated that they will be waiting until next summer to try and make a splash in free agency, but first in foremost is whether or not to re-sign Zach LaVine. After returning from a torn ACL and getting to see about a quarter-season from the young guard, the Bulls need to decide how much money LaVine is worth. They knew this was going to be a predicament after trading for him in the Jimmy Butler deal, but now comes decision time. LaVine is a restricted free agent meaning the Bulls can match any offer that LaVine signs and it sounds as if they will let the market dictate what LaVine is worth and then decide from there. It seems like a situation that will be hard to win as they either pay LaVine a lot of money after barely seeing him play, or they let him walk after making him a main cog that allowed Butler to be dealt away.

    Outside of free agency, the Bulls have two first round draft picks and have stated that they want to get players that are long, athletic, and can play on both sides of the ball. Unfortunately for them, so does every team in the league. With the the seventh pick after the lottery didn’t go their way along with the 22nd pick from the Pelicans, the Bulls should be able to draft two players that fit their scheme or even work a deal to move up if they are inclined to do so.

    The future has a few bright spots for the Bulls with Kris Dunn having a revitalized sophomore campaign, Lauri Markkanen proving why he was chosen seventh overall, and most likely Zach LaVine returning for multiple years to go along with their two draft picks in June. The Bulls may not be too far away from a return to the postseason if they can nail this draft. It looks like Gar Forman and John Paxson’s quick rebuild may have legs to it, but it is hard to imagine they will be competing for anything significant with the current roster they have, even if the ceilings are met for each player.

    Coaching

    Fred Hoiberg entered his third year as the Bulls head coach under a lot of scrutiny. After taking over for Tom Thibodeau, Hoiberg led the Bulls to a 42-40 record in his first season and a 41-41 record that included a playoff berth in his second season. While Hoiberg did not jump off the page in his first two seasons, he was working with a roster that was constructed for Thibodeau – his polar opposite coach. Hoiberg was not able to implement his pace-and-space system when he had a roster constructed around Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler. Now that the Bulls have been constructing the roster to be younger and more athletic, to go along with extra shooters on the floor, Hoiberg’s coaching ability showed a lot more this season despite the poor record.

    The Bulls were 24th and 29th in 3-pointers attempted in Hoiberg’s first and second season respectively but finished sixth this season with 31.1 attempts per game – that would have been tied for first with the Warriors in the 2015-2016 season. They saw similar trends in both pace and assist percentage. The Bulls finished 13th, 20th and then 10th this past season in pace while finishing 14th, 13th and then as high as eighth in 2017-2018. The numbers are clearly supporting Hoiberg to continue as the Bulls head coach and we likely will see him coach out the final two years of his original five-year, $25 million contract signed in 2015.

    The Bulls have clearly been catching up to the league trends in terms of play style and firing Hoiberg would only set them back in that department. They might not be impressing anyone but blaming Hoiberg for coaching a Tom Thibodeau roster would be wrong. We are clearly seeing that Hoiberg has talent as a coach and should continue to grow with this team. The Bulls have made it clear they want to continue to bring in athletic wing players that will fit the pace-and-space system Hoiberg implements and as long as the front office stays true to that word the Bulls may not have a long playoff drought.

    The Players

    Zach LaVine

    ADP: 94/111 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 322/326 (8/9-cat), Per-Game Value: 140/157 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 24

    Stats: 27.3 MPG, 16.7 PTS, 1.7 3PM, 3.9 REB, 3.0 AST, 1.0 STL, 0.1 BLK, 0.383 FG%, 0.813 FT%

    LaVine was dealt to the Bulls during the 2017 NBA draft and coming off an ACL tear it was expected for him to play no more than a half-season. In reality he only got into 24 games, all starts, due to rest days and knee tendinitis towards the end of the season related to his recovery from the ACL injury. The Bulls had no reason to rush the young guard back to action as they were in full tank mode, but they do have a decision to make this summer with LaVine being a restricted free agent.

    LaVine has made a career out of being a scoring, athletic guard that does not scream efficiency and he carried that same mantra this past season. Posting career lows in field-goal percentage, 3-point percentage, and his lowest minutes per game since his rookie season, LaVine clearly did not live up to his lofty pre-draft value. It is clear why he was not quite as good. A torn ACL and changing teams are not a recipe for success, but at the end of the day he did in fact not have very much fantasy success. The per-game value was worth starting at times, but with only 24 games played LaVine’s season was not his finest moment, but again we know why. We can look past the raw numbers he posted and look to next season as one that could bring value back to LaVine.

    LaVine put up a career high in points per-36, field-goal attempts per-36, three-point attempts per 36, and rebounds per-36 minutes. Looking into per-36 minutes is not always a reliable method, but LaVine is a player that averaged 37.3 minutes per game in his final year in Minnesota and we would expect a similar workload wherever he ends up next season.

    The Bulls have a decision to make regarding how much they value LaVine versus the rest of the league, but if he stays in Chicago, LaVine should be able to have his percentages, minutes and total numbers rise, along with his fantasy value. LaVine did not seem passive or unathletic with regards to his knee which is the most promising takeaway for him personally from this season, and it seems like he will be just fine for the future despite his ACL tear. His value going into next season will be comprised on which team he ends up going to, and assuming it’s the Bulls, who they pick up in the draft. Either way, do not expect LaVine to shoot 38% from the field with only 27.3 minutes per game.

    Robin Lopez

    ADP: 94/111 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 179/190 (8/9-cat), Per-Game Value: 174/195 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 64

    Stats: 26.4 MPG, 11.8 PTS, 0.0 3PM, 4.5 REB, 1.9 AST, 0.2 STL, 0.8 BLK, 0.529 FG%, 0.755 FT%

    Tanking: so easy a caveman can do it. The Bulls were under a lot of heat from the league’s front offices for blatantly benching Lopez post-all-star break for what they tried to say was player development. Lopez, along with teammate Justin Holiday, was benched for a series of games in favor of Cristiano Felicio, Noah Vonleh and others in what was clearly a full-tank move. Even before the Bulls were benching a healthy Lopez – which did not last long as he and Holiday were reinserted back into the lineup after only a handful of games – he was having his worst season in recent memory. Lopez had not finished sub-145 Per-Game Value in either format in any of the four seasons prior to 2017-2018.

    A sharp decline in rebounds and blocks would be the main culprit. A center that is getting 4.5 boards and 0.8 blocks per game is not adding much value to your team at all – especially when he does not shoot or pass like a modern big might.

    The Bulls have Lopez under contract for one more season and north of $14 million which makes him a prime trade candidate next season. There were small rumors this season surrounding Lopez’s value on the trade market but the Bulls front office continued to say that they believed Lopez was a part of the future in Chicago, though that seems a little hard to believe. A seven-foot center that can rebound and protect the rim that will be on an expiring contract seems like the ideal trade candidate for a lot of teams that will be contending next season. And despite the decline in rebounds and blocks per game, Lopez still remains one of the best players in the NBA at boxing out and can still defend the rim with the best. That unfortunately did not translate into fantasy stats this season.

    Lopez will most likely see a large decline in his pre-draft ranking heading into next season and that may provide an opportunity as a sleeper option. If the Bulls do not add a big in the upcoming draft, Lopez will enter the season as the starting center and will be in a prime position for his rebounds and blocks to return to his career norm while his price will be drastically discounted, most likely an over-correction.

    Kris Dunn

    ADP: 140/138 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 118/151 (8/9-cat), Per-Game Value: 51/78 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 52

    Stats: 29.3 MPG. 13.4 PTS, 0.8 3PM, 4.2 REB, 5.9 AST, 2.0 STL, 0.5 BLK, 0.429 FG%, 0.736 FT%

    Dunn followed up an extremely disappointing rookie campaign with a very encouraging sophomore season that reminded us not to judge a player based on their first season alone. Once considered the safest pick in the 2016 NBA draft, Dunn was quite horrible as a rookie in Minnesota. In retrospect, a rookie under Tom Thibodeau not getting a lot of playing time or having a productive season might not rest solely on the player’s shoulders. Dunn also was backing up point guard Ricky Rubio, a playmaking point guard that was a great defender but could not shoot very well. Sounds very similar to Dunn’s scouting report, and the two do not differ in play very much at all besides Dunn being less experienced. A reset button was exactly what Dunn needed and is what he got when he was dealt to the Bulls during the draft last summer.

    Dunn did not take long to remind us why he was selected fifth overall and was a highly touted prospect despite a lot of people already giving up on him. He was forced to miss the first four games of the season due to a dislocated finger in October but got playing time and control of the offense very early on in his return and did not look back. Dunn also dealt with various injuries throughout the season including a concussion with dislocated teeth after a scary fall in mid January. He missed 17 games to due the concussion and the last 14 games of the season due to a sprained toe. The Bulls being in the tank race probably caused Dunn to miss more games than he needed to due to injury this season, but it is still noteworthy that he missed 30 games due to multiple injuries. Dunn has a lot of room to grow on the offensive side of the ball but he showed a confidence and on court leadership that was not present as a rookie in Minnesota.

    Lauri Markkanen

    ADP: 140/139 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 84/72 (8/9-cat), Per-Game Value: 78/66 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 68

    Stats: 29.7 MPG 15.1 PTS 2.1 3PM 7.4 REB 1.1 AST 0.5 STL 0.6 BLK 0.434 FG% 0.843 FT%

    The white Dirk, as nicknamed by Reddit, was much more than a European, shooting, stretch four. Markkanen was extremely aggressive from the tip and showed athleticism that not many knew he had. He had no problem launching contested threes or going in for a dunk at any time, and he made Bulls fans proud from the get-go.

    The Arizona product did a little bit of everything, and although his defensive stats were not quite there yet, he showed some ability to defend and was very impressive overall for a rookie – well outperforming his late-round ADP. He is a great fit for Fred Hoiberg’s system and should fit in well as a go-to option alongside Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and the young talent the Bulls continue to acquire. Markkanen’s name originally carried doubt and bust concerns. A lot of people were saying “just take Dennis Smith or Malik Monk” but after one season we can certainly say the Bulls made a good selection. There’s no telling what the future may hold but with how young Markkanen is combined with his talent and athleticism but is exciting to think about as he seems to fit today’s NBA very well.

    While Markkanen was impressive as a rookie, it still remains to be seen if that will carry over to fair fantasy value in his second season. He will surely see a big jump in ADP and his price will have some improvement cooked into it. It will have to depend on who the Bulls draft with their two first round picks, but if they take a playmaker or scoring option, it may be hard for Markkanen to live up to his pre-draft value. Markkanen also dealt with a few injuries including one to his back that is worth noting come draft time. The Bulls were in no rush to bring Markkanen back early as they were trying to lose games which makes it hard to judge how serious the injuries were, but he did miss 14 games with multiple injuries that hopefully do not continue for his career. Overall though, Markkanen had a very promising first season that should be ready to build on as the rest of the roster continues to improve. You could say he’s not a Finnished project just yet.

    Justin Holiday

    ADP: 140/138 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 116/112 (8/9-cat), Per-Game Value: 127/120 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 72

    Stats: 31.4 MPG, 12.1 PTS, 2.2 3PM, 4.0 REB, 2.1 AST, 1.1 STL, 0.4 BLK, 0.370 FG%, 0.823 FT%

    Holiday had possibly his best season as a pro so far and if not for the Bulls sitting him out a few games for tanking purposes, he could have seen an even better total value. The Bulls had a very interesting season off the court with brawls, tanking and a multitude of players joining the rotation, but Holiday was one of the few consistent players for them. At about 6’6” with long arms, Holiday provided shooting, length and athleticism on the wing for the very wing-depleted Bulls roster. Between Zach LaVine returning from injury, Paul Zipser dealing with injury and a surplus of power forwards, Holiday was able to solidify the wing for the Bulls. He was not a star or a team leader by any means, but he was able to provide spacing and length that helped fill holes on the roster.

    Holiday was never considered the prospect that his brother Jrue was, but he finally found his place as a role player and found his place on our fantasy rosters after outperforming his ADP no matter the setting.

    Looking into next season, we’ll have to see if the playing time is there for Holiday to replicate his counting stats. With the Bulls likely to draft at least one wing player, and LaVine most likely playing in much more than 24 games, Holiday will likely take a step back in value. This should allow him to see his efficiency come back a little as no one appreciates a field-goal percentage of 37%, but Holiday won’t be asked to take shots outside of his skill level like he was this season. Assuming Holiday comes off the bench, he will be reduced to more of a “3 and D” only player which is what he is suited for rather than being asked to take a lot of shots. His total value will most likely take a step back, but it remains to be seen given the decisions the Bulls have to make this offseason.

    Bobby Portis

    ADP: N/A/141 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 115/117 (8/9-cat), Per-Game Value: 129/126 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 73

    Stats: 22.4 MPG 13.2 PTS 1 3PM 6.7 REB 1.6 AST 0.6 STL 0.3 BLK 0.471 FG% 0.769 FT%

    Punchin’ Portis got off to a sluggish start as he was suspended for eight games after punching teammate Nikola Mirotic during a fight in practice but provided fantasy owners a nice return on investment. After being selected in the middle of the first round, Portis has had an up and down career and his third season was more of the same.

    After only receiving 22.4 minutes per game, Portis did a little bit of everything – helping in a few categories and not hurting too much in the others. Portis saw increased minutes this season compared to his first two seasons and the rest of his stats followed suit. After not being fantasy relevant his first two tries, Portis found himself finishing with late-round value even with a logjam at power forward. Portis has shown his ability to hit from behind-the-arc, score and rebound, but it will be hard for him to continue the increase in stats.

    After the trade Mirotic trade, Portis did see up to 25 minutes per game and an increase in his overall season value, but with Lauri Markkanen there to stay it will be hard to see him getting anything more than 25 minutes a night. His per-36-minute numbers cracked top-100 value so if there happens to be injuries to bigs next season it would open up a mid-round upside, but assuming everyone is healthy Portis will likely only carry late round value. The upside could also be tapped into if the Bulls want to try and play Markkanen and alongside Portis, but that would cause defensive issues inside that would likely not go well.

    Denzel Valentine

    ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 109/106 (8/9-cat), Per-Game Value: 143/133 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 77

    Stats: 27.2 MPG, 10.1 PTS, 1.8 3PM, 5.1 REB, 3.1 AST, 0.8 STL, 0.1 BLK, 0.418 FG%, 0.745 FT%

    In his second season, Valentine showed more inconsistency and not a lot of promise. He ended up getting a lot of minutes which seemed to help him develop more and at times looked like the alpha-dog he used to be as a Spartan at Michigan State, but there were also times he did not look like he belonged on the court. A good fit for Fred Hoiberg’s system, Valentine brings playmaking and shooting ability on the wing that may be able to stick in the starting lineup next season. The Bulls could go many directions in the draft and would seemingly pick a player that would be able to start day one, but we never know how NBA teams move forward with rookies.

    If Valentine takes a step forward this offseason then repeating the 27.2 minutes per game would not be difficult even with Zach LaVine presumably playing a full season and the Bulls drafting another wing player. Unfortunately for fantasy owners his playing time may deviate from a game-to-game basis with regards to how he is actually playing. Between Justin Holiday, Paul Zipser, David Nwaba and potential draft picks, the Bulls wings could get very crowded very quickly. It will remain to be seen what Valentine’s outlook will be, but we should have a much clearer view by the time drafts roll around

    Cameron Payne

    ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 316/314 (8/9-cat), Per-Game Value: 152/153 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 25

    Stats: 23.2 MPG, 8.8 PTS, 1.4 3PM, 2.7 REB, 4.5 AST, 1.0 STL, 0.3 BLK, 0.404 FG%, 0.750 FT%

    Cam Payne had an awful start to his Bulls career last season after being traded for Doug McDermott and Taj Gibson, but he turned that around this year in his injury-shortened season. Payne broke a bone in his foot that he went under the knife for in August and caused him to miss the first four months of the season. If we’re being honest though, Bulls fans were not too mad he missed that much time. However, once he returned to action, Payne did not disappoint in his second year with Chicago and actually picked up late-round value on a per-game basis towards the end of the year. One 3-pointer, one steal and over four assists per game in just 23 minutes is not a bad way to grab yourself a role as the backup point guard.

    At the exit interviews for this season, the Bulls front office said they envisioned Payne as the backup point guard of the future which will make it hard for him to maintain fantasy value. Payne did most of his work with Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine out with injuries, but with both expected both and in the starting lineup along with a top-10 draft pick to go with the 22nd selection, Payne’s value could fall back to the waiver wire territory. After being a first round selection in 2015, Payne has spent his whole career off the bench and flashed small bits of talent at time with the Thunder but has mainly been a disappointment. The Bulls took a shot with him when they dealt Gibson and McDermott to the Thunder and it seems that a full year with Fred Hoiberg helped with some of the, dare I say, growing pains.

    With the assumption that Payne is at best a backup guard that will have to fight for 20 minutes per game, and even that may be a stretch, it will be hard for him to have real pre-draft value in standard leagues.

    David Nwaba

    ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 229/232 (8/9-cat), Per-Game Value: 259/270 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 70

    Stats: 23.5 MPG, 7.9 PTS, 0.2 3PM, 4.6 REB, 1.4 AST, 0.8 STL, 0.4 BLK, 0.478 FG%, 0.655 FT%

    Nwaba has spent a good deal of time in the G-League in his first season in 2016-17, but showed his defensive ability as a big guard with limited time on the Lakers. Coming into 2017-18, the Bulls picked up Nwaba after the Lakers waived him and he got in 70 games for the young tank machine. Nwaba continued to show his abilities defensively and rebounding the ball (4.6 boards per game in just 23.5 minutes as a 6’4” shooting guard) and also showed a large improvement in his shooting. Nwaba shot just 20 percent from behind the arc as a rookie on 0.3 attempts per game but saw those numbers increase to 34.6 percent on 0.7 attempts per game. Those do not jump off the page at all but increasing his 3-point percentage by 75% while more than doubling the amount of attempts per game is impressive and could lead to more playing time if he continues to improve.

    Nwaba stands 6’4” and brings an ability to guard one-through-three and can even hold his own against some fours. He only played in 23.5 minutes per game this season and it will be hard for him to crack that number assuming he is back with the team again next season. With the addition of Sean Kilpatrick late in the season, an assumption that Zach LaVine returns, and the possibility of at least one more wing player in the draft, Nwaba will have a hard time increasing his minutes per game. He has shown enough effort and grit to make an impact on both ends of the floor and has a lot of room to improve his game, but it may take an injury for him to be relevant in standard leagues.

    Sean Kilpatrick

    ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 335/339 (8/9-cat), Per-Game Value: 390/395 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 52

    Stats: 12.3 MPG, 6.3 PTS, 0.8 3PM, 1.6 REB, 0.8 AST, 0.2 STL, 0.0 BLK, 0.375 FG%, 0.888 FT%

    Kilpatrick did a lot of bouncing around this season spending time with four different teams. He played 16 games for the Nets, 23 games for the Bucks, four games for the Clippers and nine with the Bulls to end the season. The Bulls were the only ones that gave him extended run and he produced well enough to be owned to end the season. In the nine games, SkillP started just one but still got 23.8 minutes per game and scored a whopping 15.4 points per game. He also added 2.1 3-pointers, 2.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.7 steals per game. The Bulls locked up Kilpatrick on a three-year, $6.2 million contract in which 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons are team options.

    The Bulls have the potential to have an extremely deep backcourt but Kilpatrick proved he can be a very effective scorer off the bench. He will not likely get heavy minutes, and we will have to wait and see who the Bulls select with their two first round picks, but if Kilpatrick remains in Chicago he could be able to help your team in scoring and 3-pointers, though he would be hard to trust right away. It would be better to wait and see what his role will be before jumping the gun.

    Jerian Grant

    ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 183/179 (8/9-cat), Per-Game Value: 224/227 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 74

    Stats: 22.7 MPG, 8.3 PTS, 0.8 3PM, 2.3 REB, 4.6 AST, 0.8 STL, 0.1 BLK, 0.414 FG%, 0.744 FT%

    After coming over to the Bulls two seasons ago in the Derrick Rose trade, Grant has still not been able to sustain the potential he once showed at Notre Dame. Although he was never thought of as an elite prospect, there were people who believed he could develop into a starting caliber point guard and that has not happened yet. Grant briefly opened the season as the starter for the Bulls before new acquisition Kris Dunn took over after returning from injury. On top of that, Cameron Payne showed some improvement and comfort at the end of the season which allowed the Bulls front office to commit to Payne as the backup point guard for the 2018-19 season.

    Where does this leave Grant? Unfortunately for him he is on the outside looking in for playing time. He was relevant at times in deeper leagues but that was aided by an increase in minutes due to Dunn injuries. With Dunn, LaVine, Payne, David Nwaba and Justin Holiday all probable to be with the Bulls next season, it does not look good for Grant’s value.

    Cristiano Felicio

    ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 295/305 (8/9-cat), Per-Game Value: 344/348 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 55

    Stats: 17.7 MPG, 5.6 PTS, 0.0 3PM, 4.2 REB, 1.0 AST, 0.2 STL, 0.2 BLK, 0.590 FG%, 0.666 FT%

    The $32 million man made a nice disappearing act after signing his pricey extension this past offseason. Felicio signed a four-year, $32 million contract extension that runs through the 2020-21 season, but appeared in only 55 games after spending time with the Windy City Bulls. At just 25 years old, the Brazilian big man showed talent in spurts prior to this season but appeared to be buried on the depth chart until the end of the year. Felicio spent a lot of time in the G-League and the Bulls did not give him significant playing time until  after the all-star break where he saw his minutes per game nearly double from 12.8 to 24.3.

    Felicio did not show too much when he got his playing time, but he crept into fantasy relevance in standard leagues towards the final two weeks. In the final twelve games of the season, he still only logged 26.3 minutes per game but a statline of 9.5 points, 8.1 boards, 0.1 blocks, 0.7 steals and 58% from the field landed him at a very nice rank of 169 during that stretch. There’s no doubt that Felicio can hold his own, but his lack of passing, shooting and shot-blocking abilities make him a tough fit for today’s NBA. Robin Lopez is likely a trade candidate as an expiring contract this season and teams usually like to commit to players they are paying money to so if Felicio sees increased playing time post-all-star break again do not be surprised. He should start the season nowhere near your standard league roster though, and could lose even more value if the Bulls end up drafting a center with their seventh pick in June’s draft.

    Noah Vonleh

    ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 298/290 (8/9-cat), Per-Game Value: 339/324 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 54

    Stats: 16.2 MPG, 4.8 PTS, 0.3 3PM, 5.7 REB, 0.6 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.3 BLK, 0.444 FG%, 0.620 FT%

    Vonleh was dealt to the Bulls at the trade deadline and he did not disappoint. Oh, no, wait. He continued to only disappoint. Vonleh was a former number nine overall pick to the Charlotte Hornets in 2014, and being traded twice in your first three seasons is not a good sign. Vonleh has not been able to find a good setting so far in his young career. He was not being drafted or owned anywhere – hopefully – which is consistent with his statline. Judging by the fact that the Bulls gave up the rights to Milovan Rakovic to acquire Vonleh, they were just looking for another big body after trading away Nikola Mirotic a week earlier. Vonleh has always been a solid rebounder with 11 rebounds per-36 minutes for his career, but he will likely not see more than 15-20 minutes per game. Vonleh will most likely not be a fantasy asset next season if the Bulls stay healthy.

    Doctor’s Orders

    The Bulls wanted a quick rebuild after finally choosing a direction by trading Jimmy Butler and that seems very possible for them to accomplish. Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen ended up being a very good return for the Bulls’ lone star and has reset their future. Along with their own first round pick, they also picked up a first round pick from the trade with the New Orleans Pelicans for Nikola Mirotic and are now sitting pretty with Dunn, LaVine, Markkanen and the seventh and the 22nd picks in the upcoming draft. On top of that, their cap space for the 2019 summer should be able to attract a star player if any do want to come. LaVine is not guaranteed to stay with the team as he is a restricted free agent this summer, but given his fine return from his ACL tear, it would be surprising if the Bulls let him walk for nothing. As long as the team stays healthy, the Bulls will need to continue to trust their own process and let their talent continue to develop but they are starting to form a young core that fits their coach’s play-style well.

Fantasy News

  • Dion Waiters
    SG, Miami Heat

    Dion Waiters (illness) has been ruled out for Friday.

    If it's not one thing it's another with Waiters, who isn't a fantasy option in any format.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Tyler Herro
    PG, Miami Heat

    Tyler Herro (illness) missed Thursday's practice and is questionable for Friday's matchup with the Lakers.

    Herro was on a nice little run before going scoreless on 0-for-6 shooting on Tuesday, and this news only compounds the problem for GMs who just snatched him up off waivers. He's proven to be a streaky player so far in his young career but remains an upside hold in most formats, especially while Justise Winslow, Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters all remain sidelined.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Goran Dragic
    PG, Miami Heat

    Goran Dragic (groin strain) will not suit up on Friday.

    Dragic has missed the last five games and is becoming tough to hold in 12-team formats, even with top-120 standing in 8-cat leagues. The Heat haven't said anything about a timetable and if you need help immediately, it's probably alright to set Dragic free on the waiver wire. Kendrick Nunn will continue to see extra run.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Justise Winslow
    SF, Miami Heat

    Justise Winslow (back) has been ruled out ahead of Friday's tilt with the Lakers.

    Winslow just can't stay healthy, appearing in only 10 games so far this season. He's safe to drop in 12-team formats if you need immediate production, and the glut of ball-handlers in Miami caps his upside significantly even when healthy.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Robert Williams III
    C-F, Boston Celtics

    Robert Williams (sore left hip) has been ruled out for Thursday.

    Williams' absence will give more minutes to Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter. The second-year big man has been on the cusp of top-150 value for most of the season but his floor is shaky as a low-minute guy that needs to block shots by the handful to make him worth the trouble.

    Source: Celtics on Twitter

  • Gordon Hayward
    SF, Boston Celtics

    Gordon Hayward (facial contusion) is probable to face the Sixers on Thursday.

    Hayward was forced out of last night's game after taking a shot to the face so this is excellent news, as he's avoided a concussion and should be able to return to the lineup immediately.

    Source: Celtics on Twitter

  • Marcus Smart
    PG, Boston Celtics

    A left eye infection will keep Marcus Smart out of the lineup on Thursday.

    Smart also missed Wednesday's game, which allowed Brad Wanamaker to come through with a solid performance. He's a streaming option on a light four-game night but Smart isn't expected to be out for much longer.

    Source: Celtics on Twitter

  • Moritz Wagner
    PF, Washington Wizards

    Moe Wagner (ankle) was unable to participate in Thursday's practice.

    Wagner has cooled down substantially over the last two games, which just so happened to coincide with him being one of the most popular adds in fantasy basketball. Ian Mahinmi has taken a surprisingly large chunk of the minutes but perhaps that's the Wizards dialing back Wagner's workload while he's hurt. Stick with the sophomore, as he was producing standard-league value even before Thomas Bryant's injury elevated him into a larger role.

    Source: Candace Buckner on Twitter

  • Austin Rivers
    PG, Houston Rockets

    Austin Rivers (illness) may be able to play limited minutes on Friday.

    Rivers was unable to play on Wednesday and he should still be considered questionable for tomorrow. Ben McLemore remains the more appealing fantasy option given his scoring upside.

    Source: Jonathan Feigen on Twitter

  • Nikola Vucevic
    C, Orlando Magic

    Nikola Vucevic (right ankle sprain) is listed as out on the early injury report for Friday's game.

    Yesterday, Steve Clifford said that Vucevic could return on Friday, so it's possible that we see an update to his status after tomorrow's pregame activities. For what it's worth, Vucevic went through all of Thursday's non-contact practice. Deep-league GMs might have seen the last of Khem Birch, while Mo Bamba's solid stats (the on-court play is a lot dicier) make him worth a hold to see if he can hang around as a blocks and boards type.

    Source: John Denton on Twitter