Bulls place four players in ESPN top-100 rankings


As the final month before the start of the NBA and Chicago Bulls season arrives, nothing embodies the return of basketball more than the annual player rankings. 

What better way to get excited about the Bulls' upcoming season than to see four players listed on ESPN's top-100 NBA players for the upcoming 2022-23 season?

Lonzo Ball (No. 78), Nikola Vučević (No. 57), DeMar DeRozan (No. 28) and Zach LaVine (No. 27) made the list for the Bulls. The rest of the 26 players will be named throughout the week as ESPN releases its full list of top-100 players. The rest of the list will likely not feature any other Bulls, since their best players were named already. 

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Ball, despite only playing 35 games, gets a generous nod from ESPN. The point guard impressed in a small sample size last season. He used his quick hands and antsy defensive instincts to cause chaos on defense. Simultaneously, he became a threat behind the three-point line, cashing in 42 percent of his 7.4 three-point attempts. 

Ball's return from a knee injury he suffered in January remains to be seen. ESPN reported he will miss training camp and the beginning of the season. It's unknown specifically how his situation progressed this summer and when he'll wind up returning. 

For the man in the middle, Vučević's season last year went through an offensive rollercoaster amidst poor shooting efficiency and a decrease in looks due to DeRozan's arrival in Chicago. Nonetheless, he finished averaging 17.3 points and 3.2 assists per game while producing top-tier numbers on the glass with 11 rebounds per game. 

This will be an important year for Vučević since he's going into the final year of his contract. He bought a house in the Chicago neighborhood Lincoln Park, which can only assume he intends to be with the Bulls past this season. 

DeRozan proved the national doubters wrong with an MVP-like season with the Bulls. He flaunted his efficient mid-range ability and dominated as the Bulls' lynchpin on offense. He slashed 27.9/5.2/4.9 on his way to his fifth All-Star nod and third All-NBA team. 

Finally, LaVine's finish just outside the top-25 seems reasonable for his season, which earned him a maximum extension from the Bulls worth north of $215 million. LaVine performed bravely through a plethora of minor injuries (torn thumb ligaments, knee injury) he refused to sideline him. He posted a slash of 24.4/4.6/4.5 on his way to a second All-Star nod. 

One name left off the list from the Bulls is Alex Caruso. Caruso got the top-100 nod from CBS's player list but was left shy of ESPN's. Nevertheless, Chicago knows his value all too well. Despite suffering a wincing wrist injury in the middle of the season, his defensive mastery impressed. He will be a major factor in the Bulls' team this season. 

Training camp for the Bulls will begin soon as their first preseason game tips off on Oct. 4. 

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