Chicago Bulls

Why you should watch the Bulls in 2017-18

FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2017, file photo, Dave Zarzynski, left and Katie Hanrahan, right, measure Chicago Bulls' Lauri Markkanen's wingspan during media day for the NBA basketball team in Chicago. There’s plenty riding on the Jimmy Butler trade, which landed Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and No. 7 draft pick Lauri Markkanen. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Alright, the Chicago Bulls are going to be horrific this year. No one doubts that. I’m betting you looked at that headline thinking it had to be clickbait because really — is there any reason to watch them this year?

In fact, yes. There are 10 very good reasons to watch them … well, at least 10 reasons, some better than others.

1. Justin Holiday could be a candidate for Most Improved Player

It might sound crazy to consider, but Justin Holiday could be a viable candidate for Most Improved Player. He averaged 13.8 points, 4.9 boards and 2.2 dimes per 36 minutes last year for the Knicks with just 16.9 percent usage. During the preseason for the Bulls, he’s been averaging 19.0 points, 5.2 boards, and 2.8 assists, according to RealGM.comHis Player Efficiency Rating is 25.3. He’s the best player on a horrible team until Zach LaVine comes back. Who knows?

2. Zach LaVine will come back

The scars of Chicago waiting for a star athletic guard to come back from a torn ACL were starting to heal, so Gar Forman and John Paxson did something about that, trading their only All-Star for Zach LaVine — who is presently healing from a torn ACL. Reports are that he might start taking contact in practice in mid-November, so maybe an early-Decemberish return is possible.

When he does come back, though, he should be entertaining. He was averaging 18.9 points per game when he went down last year, shooting 38.7 from deep, 83.6 from the stripe, and packing some of the most electrifying dunks in the league. There will at least be some entertainment value:

3. Lauri Markkanen could actually be for real

The early looks on Lauri Markkanen have been hit-and-miss. He was not great in Las Vegas Summer League, fantastic in EuroBasket, not so good in his first preseason action, and terrific in his second game, showing an impressively fluid stroke:

4. Determine the future for Nikola Mirotic

“Threekola” has been an up-and-down experience for Chicago, but it’s always been awkward for him. Attempts to play him at small forward have been disastrous. His new two-year deal with the Bulls is ideal. If he doesn’t play well, the Bulls lose more games, and that’s a good thing. If he does play well, then they keep him. It’s win-win. Or lose-win-win. Or something like that.

5. We might see Hoiball — finally

Maybe we’ll finally see some of this “Hoiball” we were told about two years ago when the front office fired Tom Thibodeau and replaced him with Fred Hoiberg. This whole “pace and space” thing sounds like a good idea. I hear other teams are having success with it. Maybe with a team that’s actually constructed to do that, we’ll watch some more exciting (if not still horrible) basketball. In fact, they’re shooting nearly 35 3-pointers per game and handing out nearly 25 assists per contest in preseason, so they have that going for them.

6. Maybe they won’t be that bad

Yeah, just kidding. They will be awful.

7. They will be mind-blowingly awful

There may be times when you’re watching the Bulls this year, and it will be so bad that your TV set will just start showing a test-screen pattern in protest. It could get so bad that even Stacey King won’t have something positive to say. But think about the long game. The more the Bulls lose, the more lottery balls they can get and the better pick Gar Forman and John Paxson can screw up in the draft.

8. Potential for drinking games

Turn it into a party and a drinking game. Have all your friends over, and every time Neil Funk gets a call wrong, everyone has to drink. Remember, drive home safely (beep-beep), which in this case means, “get a cab.”

9. Something to have on for background noise

Maybe you’re playing “Sim City” or “Clash of Clans,” and you just want to have something on that requires no focus whatsoever in the background. This will work as well as anything this side of an NBC Chicago-based drama series.

10. To get your 1-800-588-2300 Empire fix

Can you really go an entire basketball season without hearing this lovely jingle?:

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