Bulls land assistant Dan Craig

Bulls land assistant Dan Craig

by - Senior Writer -

After the Bulls' second disappointing season, it was evident that some major changes were in store for this organization. While most of those changes were expected to come from within the roster, the coaching staff will also look drastically different next season as the entire organization undergoes a massive shift in direction.

After Chris Fleming and Maurice Cheeks were relieved of their assistant head coaching duties, many felt that Josh Longstad would be next in line to be Billy Dononvan's right-hand man. He then chose to leave the Bulls for the Charlotte Hornets, where he would become Charles Lee's top assistant.

That puts the Bulls in the market for three assistant coaches heading into next season. Addressing this issue will be the first area of business for this team before adding any players. The first of those three hires was made over the weekend when they added Wes Unseld Jr to be the top assistant, leaving just two more assistant coach openings to fill.

Make that one, as the Bulls and Dan Craig have reached an agreement for him to join the Bulls staff as the second assistant coach to be added to the Bulls staff. Like Unseld Jr, Craig is another well-respected name across the NBA landscape and has been involved in a lot of winning his entire career.

He served under Erik Spoelstra as one of his assistants from 2012 to 2020 before latching on with Tyrone Lue in Los Angeles the past few seasons. Looking at those two names alone, it doesn't get much better than that in terms of coaching, as those two have been widely regarded as two of the better coaches in the league today. Having that much experience with both of them is huge, and bringing a winning attitude to the Bulls is something this staff could desperately use.

Pair his hire with the Unseld Jr. hire, and no one will argue that both of these hires are good and significant upgrades over what they had. However, these hires aren't going to move the needle just yet, so you have to think the Bulls have more up their sleeve or at least one massive assistant hire yet to come.

Adding coaches who not only have experience but also come from a winning culture is a clear indication that Arturas Karnisovas is still in a win-now mode even if the roster isn't built to win now. Having that type of attitude inside an organization is crucial, as winning is contagious and will attract more players who want to win.

The biggest question is what Craig's role on the team will be, especially when Unseld Jr. is expected to work on player development and fix the defense to make it more consistent. With Craig still being a relatively young coach, this is his opportunity to fully establish himself as one of the fastest-rising assistants in the game, which bodes well for him getting a head coaching job down the road.

One of the biggest flaws the Bulls organization has had the past few seasons has been player development, as they have struggled to develop their young guys. You saw some growth from Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu last season, but with Dalen Terry, Patrick Williams, and Julian Phillips underachieving, the player development department still lacks within this organization.

Craig has a ton of experience with that, especially in Miami, which stood out to Karnisovas. When you look at some of the rosters in today's game, you could make the case that Miami is the best when it comes to developing its players. They have always had a tendency to make the most of a little, which is why they are always in the position they are in.

Unseld Jr. has also been known to develop players, and you can see that with this current Denver Nuggets roster, as he played a significant role in developing that team. Should Craig come into Chicago with his knowledge and finally give this team the developmental coach they have been lacking, Chicago should finally start taking steps in the right direction, as they could start relying on their young guys more often.

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