The year 2022 was filled with a lot of drama and surprises in the NBA. The Chicago Bulls, considered one of the top teams in the league, has had it very bumpy. So as we come to the end of the year, we decided to throw it back and look at some of the Bulls’ most memorable moments.
Remember, the Chicago Bulls first played in the 1966-1967 NBA season under head coach Johnny “Red” Kerr. The 2022-2023 season is their 57th season in the NBA.
1. Bulls’ Star Lonzo Ball Suffers Knee Injury
After onboarding Lonzo Ball in August 2021, the Chicago Bulls became one of the biggest surprises in the NBA, especially at the start of the 2021-2022 season, until Ball suffered a knee injury in January 2022 during a game against the Golden State Warriors. When he left the court, nobody, not even Ball himself, knew that this injury would cost him the rest of the 2021-2022 season and even stretch to the 2022-2023 season.
He was later diagnosed with a torn meniscus, and the doctors gave him about 6-8 weeks for recovery. It’s almost a year, and Lonzo Ball is yet to play for the Bulls again. He recently revealed that he’s still unable to play since he feels pain even if he does little exercise or walks down the stairs.
Ball signed a four-year $80 million contract, and he helped push the Bulls to a 22-13 record, which turned to 24-23 in his absence. After his departure, the Bulls went from the top spot in the Eastern Conference to the sixth seed. Ball averaged 13 points per game, 5.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.8 steals in 35 games he played last season.
Lonzo Ball will undergo an arthroscopic debridement of his left knee on Wednesday, Sept. 28 in LA.
He will be re-evaluated in 4-6 weeks.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) September 21, 2022
2. DeMar DeRozan Drops 50 Points in their OT Win against the Clippers
The Chicago Bulls met the Los Angeles Clippers in March at the United Centre, and DeMar DeRozan dropped a season-high 50 Points to give the Bulls a resounding win against the Clippers. The Bulls’ star, despite missing a last-minute free throw, led the Bulls to a massive 135-130 overtime victory.
DeRozan helped the Bulls steal a game they trailed throughout, including by a total of 16 points in the third quarter and by 11 points with about five minutes of playtime remaining in regulation.
He finished the third quarter with 23 points and made a comeback in the fourth quarter, where he posted 17 points. He added 10 more in overtime to help the Bulls clinch the highly contested victory.
This was DeRozan’s second career 50-point game since his first in January 2018. He’s the sixth Bulls player to drop 50 Points in a game in the franchise’s history.
Monster night for DeMar DeRozan in their victory over the Clippers 😤
14-of-15 FT pic.twitter.com/XVP7iC78MC
— Bulls Nation (@BullsNationCP) April 1, 2022
3. The Chicago Bulls Make it to the Playoffs After Four Years of Drought
The 2022 playoffs aside, the Chicago Bulls last appeared in the playoffs in 2017. So they had been four years deep into a playoff drought. But courtesy of the efforts made by their top stars, DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and partly, Lonzo Ball, they became the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
They were, however, not lucky enough and fell in the first phase of the playoffs to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Milwaukee Bucks who were at the time the reigning champions were also pulled out of the competition in the second series after suffering a 109-81 loss against the Boston Celtics.
The Chicago Bulls have played in the NBA for a record 53 seasons and have appeared in the playoffs 35 times. They have also achieved a winning record 25 times.
— NBA (@NBA) April 21, 2022
4. Drafting Dalen Terry
There had been a lot of speculation about the Bulls moving up into the lottery and adding more proven talents to their team prior to the 2022 NBA draft. But in the end, the front office decided to add to the team a versatile young prospect — Dalen Terry. Coming out of Arizona, Dalen Terry was picked number 18 overall.
It’s undeniable that Terry wasn’t a big name in that draft class, but still, there is a lot to like about him. At Arizona, Terry was a quick and agile player who proved to be a facilitator at the point guard position. He was simply one underrated guy, though the Bulls looked beyond the boundaries and drafted him.
He spends most of his time in the G-league, playing for the Windy City Bulls, and he is averaging 14.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 4.7 assists.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) December 11, 2022
5. The Bulls Re-sign LaVine to a Five-Year Max Contract Worth $215 Million
In July, the Bulls front office reached a deal with LaVine and announced that they had signed a five-year max contract worth about $215 million.
Zach LaVine arrived in Chicago in 2017 and has since been selected an NBA All-Star, a record two times (in 2021 and 2022). He also won a gold medal with Team USA in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
His 24.25 point average (as of 22/12/2022) with the Bulls ranks third in the franchise history Behind only Michael Jordan and DeMar DeRozan.
In the 2021-2022 season, he made 67 appearances and posted an average of 24.4 points per game, gave 4.5 assists, and had 4.6 rebounds.
Zach LaVine beats the buzzer to give the Bulls the lead at halftime 🎯 pic.twitter.com/zM8iy75fdV
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) December 27, 2022
6. Chicago Bulls Sign Andre Drumond and Goran Dragic
The Bulls announced in July that they had reached an agreement and signed then-free agent center Andre Drummond to a two-year deal worth $6.6 million. Drummond, who appeared in 24 regular season games with the Brooklyn Nets, had an average of 11.8 points and 10.3 rebounds.
He played a significant role for the Nets on and off the field because of his easygoing personality. Drummond has so far played 24 games for the Bulls, posting an average of 6.1 points per game.
The Bulls then added Goran Dragic, another shooting guard, in their midst. Goran’s deal was also sealed in July, though the official announcements came in August. The Slovenian basketball player was offered a one-year contract worth $2.9 million, which he signed.
So far, he has played 29 games for the Bulls, averaging 7.8 points. The Chicago Bulls is the third team Dragic has played for since leaving Miami Heat in 2021.
Goran Dragic on why he chose to sign with Chicago over Dallas:
The Bulls "guaranteed 20-25 minutes off the bench", backing up Lonzo at PG. That's the type of bench role he wanted to have in Dallas. pic.twitter.com/ms5mFexJWg
— windycitylimitsig (@Wiz_WCL) July 13, 2022
7. Coby White fails to Reach Chicago Bulls Extension
Many top picks of the 2019 draft class extended their contracts with their current teams during the off-season leading to the Oct.17 deadline. This wasn’t the same case for the seventh pick in that draft class.
Coby White, who was selected number seven overall by the Chicago Bulls in the 2019 NBA draft, entered a prove-it contract season after failing to reach the Bulls extension. He initially signed a four-year contract worth $24,131,515 with the Bulls.
Rookie extension deadline is today at 5pm CT.
— BullsMuse (@BullsMuse_) October 17, 2022
8. Season Opening Win Against the Heat
The Chicago Bulls opened the 2022-2023 regular season with a 116-108 win against the Miami Heat — a team now ahead of them, standing at position seven in the Eastern Conference. In the opening game, the Bulls had a stellar performance, even without one of their key players, Zach LaVine.
DeMar DeRozan dropped 37 points, while Ayo Dosunmu came second with 17 points and six rebounds. DeRozan dropped 28 of his 37 points in the second half of the game. This was the second highest points DeMar DeRozan had ever scored in an NBA opening game behind the 40 points he had in 2015 against Detroit while playing for Toronto.
Ayo Dosunmu was awesome in #Bulls' win over Heat in season opener. His stat line:
7-14 FGs (3-6 on 3s)
+15 in plus/minus
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) October 20, 2022
9. Embarrassing Loss to the Orlando Magic
The Bulls had won 111-97 against the Raptors before suffering twice at the hands of the Pelicans and losing once to the Nuggets. So they were already on a three-game losing streak ahead of their Nov 18, 2022, game with the Magic.
They wanted to break that chain. But it didn’t go as they had hoped. Their top gun, DeMar DeRozan, dropped a remarkable 41 points, yet he could not rescue them from the jaws of the resilient boys from Amway Center.
With a difference of one point, the Orlando Magic left heads high while Donovan and his boys could only stare in disbelief. It was painful and heartbreaking. A 107-108 loss. The Bulls, however, managed to pick up the pieces and took revenge in the next game against the Boston Celtics.
10. Chicago Bulls Crushes the Mavericks 144-115
The Chicago Bulls knew prior to their December 11, 2022, game that Mavericks star Luka Doncic wasn’t going to be on the court. So they planned and indeed took advantage of his absence. They gave his team a long-overdue beating. Actually the first time since January that the Bulls have won a game by a margin of 20 points and more.
The Chicago Bulls took control early in the game. And at half-time, they were already leading with 29 points, and they never looked back. DeMar DeRozan dropped 28 points, followed by Nikola Vucevic, who had 20 points. Zach LaVine added 16 points to the 144-115 win against the Dallas Mavericks.