Central Notes: Bulls, Middleton, Beasley

Although some Bulls fans may have clamored for a youth movement in Chicago, the team saw first-hand that their young core may not be ready for primetime just yet, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes. Briefly in Monday’s loss to the Pistons, the Bulls trotted out a lineup of Denzel Valentine, Jerian Grant, Paul Zipser, Bobby Portis and Cristiano Felicio but the offense quickly stalle, resulting in the prompt reinstatement of star forward Jimmy Butler.

Friedell explains that the vaunted trio of Portis, Valentine and recently acquired Cameron Payne may not be reliable enough offensively, citing their struggles against Detroit as an example of what life would be like for Bulls fans without Butler or Dwyane Wade there to steer the ship. Should Wade leave via free agency this summer and Butler get traded, there could be more nights just like Monday in the future.

Payne, brought over from the Thunder in the Taj Gibson trade, hasn’t been particularly effective in a Bulls uniform, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes in his own piece, highlighting the supposed “pure” point guard’s abundance of field goal attempts. Head coach Fred Hoiberg echoed the sentiment. “He took a couple shots that he maybe could’ve got one more bounce to the rim or kicked out for a shot,” Hoiberg said. “This is really the first meaningful big minutes that he’s getting in this league. And it’s all valuable experience for him. And he’s not afraid of the moment. He’s going to give you everything he has.

There’s more out of the Central Division tonight:

  • After battling back from a ruptured hamstring that required surgery, Khris Middleton has wasted no time getting into a rhythm beyond the arc for the Bucks, Alex Boeder of Bucks.com writes. All of Middleton’s shooting numbers since he returned nine games ago are outpacing his career averages.
  • The Pacers have put an emphasis on putting smaller lineups on the floor of late with mixed results, Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star writes. Since the implementation of the changes the team has shot better from the field but struggled on defense.
  • Injured Bucks forward Michael Beasley will be out at least two more weeks, Charles Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. Beasley, sidelined with a hyperextended knee, will be re-evaluated at that time.
  • The Cavaliers are in danger, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, more so now that Andrew Bogut has broken his leg and will miss the remainder of the 2016/17 season. Injuries, coupled with upcoming road games, general fatigue and lingering defensive woes could spell trouble for the squad, he writes.
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4 thoughts on “Central Notes: Bulls, Middleton, Beasley

  1. josc2

    That’s because the Bulls have put themselves in this position by refusing to look towards the future for the past several season. “Young and athletic” should include “talented” as well. Just because you’ve flipped your roster to a bunch of young players doesn’t mean they necessarily bring much in the way of future talent.

  2. ChiSoxCity

    Look, most Bulls fans who’ve been watching since the Jordan era (or Orlando Woolridge era in my case) aren’t stupid. We know they’re a .500 team at best with no realistic chance to get out of a 1st round playoff series.

    This roster is the walking dead; uninspired, poorly constructed, and boring to watch. Yes, they do play hard periodically. And Jimmy is very good. Overall, the roster needs better talent. Given the choice, I think most Bulls fans would love to see the team rebuild.

    What’s troubling is the Bulls organization cares more about putting butts in seats than they do building a championship roster. There seems to be no commitment to the latter.

    They should realize MJ’s 6 world championships set the bar high in Chicago. We’ll NEVER be satisfied with a team that’s not good enough to win, regardless of the names on jerseys.

    Blow it up. Start over. With some smart trades and a few lottery picks, the Bulls could easily get back to being the dominant team in the East. Greatness defined the Bulls for a generation, and the fans deserve nothing less in Chicago.


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