Schuster: Playoffs Now The Goal For Bulls

John Paxson and the Bulls have backed up their words with actions.

David Schuster
July 03, 2019 - 1:53 pm
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(670 The Score) You don't need to rush to buy your Bulls playoff tickets yet, but you might want to have your credit card handy. Because come next spring, the Bulls might be playing past the end of the regular season once again.

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At least, that's their intention after the additions of power forward Thaddeus Young and guard Tomas Satoransky in free agency. Executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson has told those close to him that he wants and expects the 2019-'20 Bulls to not only compete for but capture a playoff spot. 

For the past two years, Paxson has gone against his nature and overseen tanking seasons, a plan that was launched with the trade of Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves in June 2017. The Bulls have gone 49-115 since then, and it has eaten Paxson up to not be competitive and hope for luck in the draft lottery, which didn't come as Chicago landed the No. 7 pick each of the past two years.

Now, it's full speed ahead on the competitive front for the Bulls again as Paxson has backed up his words with actions. Paxson publicly proclaimed the Bulls would add point guard competition for Kris Dunn, and they have in acquiring Satoransky from the Wizards in a sign-and-trade and drafting North Carolina guard Coby White at No. 7. Satoransky can play on or off the ball and projects to start at point guard. At just 19, White is still raw, but he possesses incredible talent.

Dunn remains on the team for now. While he's a candidate to be traded, my two cents is that the Bulls should bring him into training camp and let him compete for his old job.

In adding the well-respect 31-year-old Young, the Bulls also added veteran leadership, just as Paxson said they would. Young will be counted on to be a mentor for young big men Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen, and he can still perform off the bench at a high level. Beyond that, Young has proved to be really durable -- he played 81 games each of the past two seasons -- which is key for a Bulls team that's been snake-bit by injuries in recent years.

In the second half of last season, you had to be an incredible hoops junkie to recognize the names of many of the Bulls' players. Too often, it was a rotating cast of G League players taking the floor. No longer will you see the likes of Rawle Alkins, Brandon Sampson, Walt Lemon Jr., JaKarr Sampson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot at the United Center court.

Instead, you'll see a mix of established veterans and young players whom the Bulls hope develop into stars.

For that, Paxson and his staff deserve credit. While a lot of work remains for the Bulls to reach their ultimate goal of winning a championship, I'll give them a grade for this offseason that I never saw on any of my report cards: an A.

David Schuster is a reporter, update anchor and host for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @Schumouse.