Bulls head coach Billy Donovan addresses his team after a preseason loss to the Firecrackers at the United Center. Courtesy of the Chicago Bulls

One thing that was challenging to comprehend about the Bulls in 2015 was why they made a statement of being playoff competitors before the season began.

That’s just setting yourself approximately fail. Moving from 22 to 40 wins isn’t possible unless your group occurred to draft Tim Duncan or Shaquille O’Neal.

The Bulls took the floor 14 months ago with an extremely young group and lost some close games to below-average challengers, and right away the feelings of disappointment set in.

I asked both Jim Boylen and John Paxson about it at midseason and neither revealed any remorses. Boylen said the atmosphere was so positive in September when the gamers were punching the clock at the Advocate Center, completing in one-on-one tournaments and losing consciousness champion belts, they asked for expectations to be set high.

The one really slim chance the Bulls had of making the playoffs last season was if Otto Porter had an A+ season, the very best of his career. Obviously, Porter wound up getting hurt and contributing next to nothing.

So now we’re back for the 2020-21 season and there will be simply two brand-new players in uniform (rookie Patrick Williams and seasoned guard Garrett Temple) when the Bulls handle Atlanta at the United Center on Wednesday.

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With last year’s experience in mind, it would assist everybody from brand-new manager Arturas Karnisovas to new coach Billy Donovan to the most casual fan seeing on NBC Sports Chicago to follow this guidance: Set expectations low.

The players have another year of experience, so the Bulls should be a little better right from the start. However in some ways, they got back at more youthful considering that the 19-year-old Williams has signed up with the rotation and Porter has a more realistic function as a part-time scoring hazard.

Donovan hasn’t revealed his starting lineup yet, but he might opt for the exact same beginners that ended up preseason– Williams, Coby White, Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr

. All 5 of those guys were one-and-done college gamers who haven’t had a whiff of winning experience in the NBA. LaVine is the oldest of the group at 25 and the best group he’s played on was the 2016-17 Timberwolves, who completed 31-51 the year LaVine tore his ACL.

That’s not how you win in the NBA. Karnisovas was handcuffed by a number of bad agreements, but he’s surely anticipating to add a minimum of one veteran next summertime who will in fact be on the floor, dipping into the start and finish.

Karnisovas’ previous group, the Denver Nuggets, were developed mainly through the draft. They signed an experienced free agent in Paul Millsap and got really lucky when second-round choice Nikola Jokic turned into an all-star.

At least one of the Bulls’ young people needs to clean out so a player or 2 with winning experience can step in. Certainly, it would assist a lot if among the recent draft chooses turns into an all-star.

The Bulls added a number of veterans in 2015 with Tomas Satoransky and Thad Young. They’re good players, but aren’t going to move the needle extremely far, and neither fits well into the beginning lineup. At 6-7, Satoransky has a difficult time defensively against opposing point guards and if Young plays, Markkanen or Carter has to sit.

In preseason, the Bulls seemed to value Donovan’s freewheeling offense. An excellent objective for the Bulls this year is to actually appear like a young. energetic group that has an opportunity to pull an upset occasionally.

Keep in mind, teams that lived in the Bulls’ neighborhood made modifications. Atlanta has several new additions, Charlotte signed a veteran star in Gordon Hayward and the Knicks are now coached by Tom Thibodeau.

Then there’s a schedule that includes 10 of 13 games on the roadway between Dec. 29 and Jan. 22, and 20 out of 37 video games versus Western Conference challengers in the very first half.

Perhaps Donovan can work some magic with this group, but it’s most likely in everybody’s best interest to set expectations low and go from there.

Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls