Chicago Bulls Vice President of Basketball Operations, Arturas Karnisovas, has been a fan favorite ever since he stepped foot in Chicago. Karnisovas was able to do a full culture shift getting the Bulls in the playoffs for the first time since 2017. He was a shoo-in for the Executive of the Year Award this year when the seasons started. Even with the Bulls second half struggles, he was still the favorite. The Executive of the Year was awarded this week and Karnisovas finished second. Memphis Grizzlies’ GM Zach Kleiman won and Karnisovas finished tied for second with Cleveland Cavilers President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman.
Karinsovas’s Case For Exec Of The Year
While Kleiman and Altman were strong choices, Karnisovas had a very compelling case. While the prior two have had success in the draft and building the team that way, Karnisovas has done it all for the Bulls in just this season.
Big Off-Season Moves
It seemed like the entire NBA was under the concensus that the Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan move was the worst of the 2021 free agency. While DeRozan did not get the MVP award, he was in the running and had his best year in the NBA. DeRozan finished averaging 27.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.9 APG, all while shooting 50.4% from the field and 35.2% from the three-point line. Karnisovas deserves tons of credit for identifying DeRozan as a player who would flourish under the regime.
Lonzo Ball was another pick up by Karnisovas that was very impactful for the Bulls. With the team needing a point guard, Karnisovas wasted no time getting Ball in the first few minutes of free agency. While it was considered tampering, the reward still out-played the return, which saw Tomas Satoransky, Garett Temple, and a 2024 second round pick, plus the penalty of their next second round pick all depart. Ball was the teams best three-point shooter at 42.3%, second-best rebounder with 5.4 RPG, and defender. Without Ball, the team was crippled on defense due to injuries and health issues throughout the year. If Ball had appeared in more than 35 games this year, the Bulls could have had home court advantage.
The NBA Draft
Karnisovas dealt himself a tough hand with the draft this year. As part of the Nikola Vucevic trade last year, the Bulls gave up their 2021 first round pick as collateral. The Bulls’ only pick was the 38th pick in the early part of the second round. Somehow, Karnisovas was able to pick Chicago’s very own Ayo Dosunmu. Dosunmu was able to contribute to the Bulls roster right away and even able to take on some very challenging defensive assignments. That is unheard of for a rookie who was a second round pick. Dosunmu was even selected to take part in the Rising Stars game at the NBA All-Star weekend.
All things considered, Karnisovas was one of the league’s best executives. This offseason, he will have the challenging task of upgrading the Bulls defense and rebounding. If he can, he’ll turn Chicago into a title contender and a team with a chance to finish in the top 4 of the regular season standings.
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