With just a few Ts to cross and Is to dot remaining, the NBA’s torrential 2020 offseason is near its end. Players are trickling back into home markets to begin quarantining and PCR testing. The individual workout portion of training camps open Tuesday. Group workouts start Dec. 6.

For all the front office and coaching staff overhaul during their nine-month layoff, the 2020-21 Bulls project to look pretty similar to the 2019-20 iteration. Gone are Kris Dunn and Shaq Harrison, to whom the new management regime chose not to extend qualifying offers. Back is Denzel Valentine, playing on his qualifying offer, and Adam Mokoka, re-upped on a two-way deal. In the door are rookies Patrick Williams and Devon Dotson (two-way), and free agent guard Garrett Temple, who was inked with a portion of the team’s $9.3 million mid-level exception.

All in all, 13 of the Bulls’ 15 currently occupied full-time roster spots are layovers from last season (14 of 17 including two-ways). That places the onus on internal improvement under Billy Donovan, especially for the young core of Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr. and Coby White -- all of whom the new management regime will certainly be watching closely.

Rotations, preferred positions and even the opening night starting five isn’t yet finalized. But with camp just days away, let’s take stock of where the Bulls’ roster stands:


Projected Depth Chart


Coby White

Tomáš Satoranský

Ryan Arcidiacono

Devon Dotson*



Zach LaVine

Denzel Valentine

Garrett Temple

Adam Mokoka*



Otto Porter Jr.

Chandler Hutchison

Patrick Williams

Denzel Valentine

Adam Mokoka*


Lauri Markkanen

Thad Young

Patrick Williams



Wendell Carter Jr.

Daniel Gafford

Luke Kornet

Cristiano Felício 



Unlisted: Noah Vonleh and Zach Norvell Jr., who signed with the team last week. We’re treating them as training camp fliers until proven otherwise. With them in the fray, the Bulls’ roster currently stands at 19 players. They can roster up to 20 until Dec. 21 -- the day before the season opener -- when they’ll have to trim down to 17 (15 guaranteed, two two-ways).


Zach LaVine starts at the 2, and remains just about the Bulls’ only known quantity on a night-to-night basis. Off the best season of his career, another step under Billy Donovan isn’t far-fetched.

Who will start alongside him? Entering camp, the point guard spot represents the closest thing to a position battle. Tomáš Satoranský started 64 of 65 games last season. Coby White started one, but it was the Bulls’ final game before the NBA suspended its season -- the culmination of a torrid post All-Star game stretch in which he averaged 24.7 points and shot 46.8-40.7-89.5 as the Bulls’ lead option across 11 games.

We haven’t heard enough from Donovan yet to get a feel for his opinion on the two, but White has to be considered the favorite for the time being. It makes too much sense. A White-LaVine starting backcourt maximizes offensive firepower -- which the new regime clearly values -- and allows the Bulls’ decision-makers to gauge the tandem’s fit together and White’s potential as a lead guard. 

RELATED: Coby White’s sights set on Bulls’ starting point guard spot for 2021

Even if relegated to a reserve role, Satoranský should see ample minutes off the pine. He’s the best passer on the team -- another favorable quality to management -- and he and White were the two most durable Bulls last season. They’ll combine to eat up the lion’s share of minutes at the 1.


Behind LaVine, Garrett Temple and Denzel Valentine will compete for opportunity. For Valentine, it’s a chance to revitalize his career under a regime that values his skillset; Temple provides veteran insurance if such a resurgence isn’t in the cards. Satoranský and White can each toggle between backcourt spots as well. 

And Ryan Arcidiacono rounds out the full-time guard rotation -- a limited player, but a solid 3-point shooter who hustles his tail off and rarely turns the ball over. Consider him in the “In The Hunt” tier for a consistent role.


Otto Porter Jr. should start at small forward unless injury or underperformance indicates otherwise. He’s played just 29 of a possible 93 games since joining the Bulls, but when he’s on the floor, his length, defensive steadiness and outside shooting are a boon. Chandler Hutchison -- again, health willing -- figures to see minutes behind him. A solid shooter and passer with wing size, Valentine can fill in here as well.

The biggest question -- and, point guard battle aside, perhaps the biggest question entering camp: Where does Patrick Williams fit in? As of draft night, neither he nor Artūras Karnišovas seemed wedded to anything.

“I don’t even know what position [Williams] is,” Karnišovas said. “He's going to identify that when he gets here to Chicago and coach Donovan, he's going to be able to use him. He's going to plug him in, whatever he feels like he's going to be able to perform right now.”

So, TBD. The Bulls clearly view Williams as a swiss army knife talent that can play across positions at both ends of the floor, but functionally, he projects as either a bruising 3 or wingy 4. The Bulls didn’t take him fourth overall to not play him, and the wing has been understaffed throughout the rebuild, so he should see extended run.


But whose minutes does he overlap with? Does Williams end up the backup small forward, biting into Hutchison’s playing time? Or the backup 4, creating a logjam with Thad Young? Does he crack the starting five at some point? Or will his rookie role fit in a different box? Or no box at all? When, where and with whom Williams plays will likely evolve throughout his first season, so stay tuned. His third-string status across multiple positions on the depth chart serves as a placeholder until we know more.

That’s… about it (and if you’re waiting for an Adam Mokoka mention, the two-way guys get their own subhead further down). LaVine can slide up to the 3 in three-guard lineups. So can Satoranský in a pinch. Williams, as mentioned, should bounce between the 3 and 4. Valentine can play the 2 or 3. 

But true “wing” is still an especially precarious spot on the Bulls’ depth chart. To be competitive in the East playoff race, they need a healthy campaign from Porter, who represents the team’s only proven two-way commodity at the position. 


The Bulls’ starting frontcourt features the first two draft picks of the rebuild, each facing their own moments of reckoning. Lauri Markkanen, off a lackluster third season, is looking to reassert himself in a contract year (though his side and the Bulls can reach an extension agreement by Dec. 21). Wendell Carter Jr., who’s played just 87 of a possible 147 games in his first two seasons, is out to prove to new leadership he can stay on the floor and have the type of consistent, multi-faceted impact he’s flashed with limited opportunity.

Thad Young will understudy Markkanen at the 4, and still feels an odd man out in this rotation. Young publicly voiced displeasure with his role, and desire for more minutes, last season, which saw him average the second-fewest minutes of his career. And that was with Markkanen not playing or being used enough, and before Williams entered the fray. 

Making matters worse: Young and Markkanen have yet to gel on the floor together -- in fact, Young’s best stretch of the 2019-20 campaign came in the 15 games Markkanen missed with a stress reaction in his pelvis. Finding a trade suitor for Young -- preferably, one that views him as a positive asset, is looking to win now, has a need for a traditional power forward and wouldn’t balk at his $14.2 million salary ($6 million partial guarantee) for 2021-22 -- could be the best outcome for both sides. But for now, he should be slated with Satoranský and Williams for significant bench roles.


Williams, again, is a whopping question mark that needs answering. Backing Carter up at the center spot is Daniel Gafford, coming off a solid rookie season. Luke Kornet and Cristiano Felício are still hanging around. 

If the Bulls find themselves in desperate need of freeing up a roster spot, waiving (and eating) either Kornet or Felício and their expiring contracts (Kornet’s for $2.3 million; Felício’s for $7.5 million) is swallowable. Kornet can shoot a bit, so he’d probably have a better chance at carving out a role if needed, but Felício’s salary could have more value as filler at the trade deadline.

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The NBA juiced the limits on two-way contracts this season in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and an uncertain G League calendar. Now, two-way players can serve a maximum of 50 games with the NBA club -- a significant bump from the 45-day active list limit of years past, which included travel and practices (this year, travel and practice days don’t count toward the 50 games).

The Bulls have both of their two-way slots filled with Mokoka and Devon Dotson, the latter of whom surprisingly went undrafted after a standout sophomore season for a Kansas team that ended the year ranked third in the country. Each has promise, but with a built-in cap on their contributions, expectations should be tempered. Injuries or -- knock on wood -- positive COVID-19 cases are just about their only avenue to substantial roles; they’re the 16th and 17th men on the roster.


But they’re not a bad use of the slots. Mokoka displayed potential as a stingy wing defender and solid outside shooter in very limited action last season; Dotson, though undersized, is a fearless, lightning-quick point guard with upside as a spark plug scorer and pesky defender.

A lot feels the same about this Bulls’ roster, but there’s also a lot still to be decided. Answers to the above questions will begin developing with the start of camp. Preseason play tips off Dec. 11.