With Jimmy Butler now out, the Chicago Bulls find themselves in semi-rebuild mode. They do still have Dwyane Wade around, but most know the NBA vet cannot do it alone.

On paper, it seems coach Fred Hoiberg has an abundance of guards at his disposal. Aside from Wade, there is Zach LaVine, Cameron Payne, Denzel Valentine, and the promising Kris Dunn. If there is one thing suspect for the Bulls, it would be their front line.

Thinning frontcourt

Manning the frontline would be Bobby Portis and Robin Lopez. Justin Holiday can play the small forward position, but the absence of a bruiser in the mold of Joakim Noah or Taj Gibson begs one to ask how the Bulls can fare in the Eastern Conference.

Hoiberg could change the script and mold Chicago into a run-and-gun club using the small ball. This would take a page out of the Golden State Warriors’ playbook, though there is a glaring difference in talent.

Nikola Mirotic is still around while two big men are subject to scrutiny. These are Lauri Markkanen and Cristiano Felicio, both of whom will be tasked to bolster the front line. Being unknowns, the worth of these two will be known once the regular NBA season gets underway.

Life after Jimmy Butler?

Jimmy Butler is seen as one of the promising NBA cagers, but somehow expectations did not pan up. A reunion with former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau with the Minnesota Timberwolves could place him back on track, though even that remains to be seen.

For the Bulls, the question is who steps up in the all-star forward’s place? Portis? Dunn? LaVine? Wade could step up, but his playing years are numbered. The Bulls could squeeze out whatever is left from the Flash but that may not be enough this season.

With plenty of questions, the Bulls will likely try to do it as a whole. Though not promising, for now, Hoiberg may need to recall the coaching brilliance he did for Iowa State – something that made him a sought-after coach.

But as most know, college ball and the NBA are largely different. Hence, the current season will be crucial to his future where he could be axed if the Bulls fail to flourish. As things look right now, things aren’t looking so hot.

Hoiberg does have a five-year contract (worth $25 million), but has so far struggled to make ends meet. His first season (2015) was a disaster with the Bulls failing to make the playoffs.

They did make it last season, though they were booted out by the Boston Celtics in the first round.

With vital cogs out, Hoiberg holds a team with glaring holes. It seems like an uphill task and the 44-year-old’s coaching tenure could be on the line.

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