CHICAGO – The 48 minutes on Sunday evening at the United Center provided two things for the Bulls: The chance to see some backups play major minutes and their lottery odds.
Other than that, the result did quite have the impact of others played by the team since late December. The Bulls, already eliminated from playoff contention, benched most of their starters and the playoff-bound Bucks did the same.
The 118-112 victory by the Bulls came with a significant amount of backups in the lineup for both squads, with the victory giving the hosts a final 31-41 record on the season. It was actually the most wins for the team since the 2016-2017 season, doing so with just 72 games, but it wasn’t enough to end the franchise’s four-year playoff drought.
Not much was expected out of the team after a new regime took over a squad that had struggled under Jim Boylen. At the trade deadline, however, Arturas Karnisovas flipped a number of players on the team in deals that brough All-Star Nikola Vucevic and four other players to the roster
Unfortunately, the group never found a groove and hurt by a late two-and-a-half week absence by guard Zach LaVine due to COVID-19, the Bulls finished the season 12-17. That record looks a bit better thanks to a 5-2 finish, with the team officially being eliminated from the postseason on Friday.
Now comes a tradition for the Bulls in recent years: The hope for some lottery luck, and it is as important as ever. The Vucevic trade with Orlando sent the team’s first round pick to the Magic unless it falls in the Top 4, then it remains with the Bulls.
Their win over the Bucks means the Bulls now have a 20.3% chance of getting into the Top 4 in the draft and a 4.5% shot to get the No. 1 overall pick. In Karnisovas’ first draft, the Bulls beat the odds by getting the fourth-overall selection in the lottery despite having just an 8.5% chance of getting it.
They’ll have to wait till July 29th for that as another season on the floor now turns into hoping for a few ping pong balls to go their way.