Bulls Notes: Williams, Future, Big Three, Caruso

Bulls power forward Patrick Williams has been re-enlisted as a starter with Javonte Green now hurt, though he’ll likely be demoted again when Green returns, writes Annie Costabile of The Chicago Sun-Times.

“We’ll probably put [Green] back in the starting lineup [when he’s healthy] to see what that looks like,” Chicago head coach Billy Donovan said. Even though Williams will be returning to the bench soon, teammates have noticed that he appears to be growing more assertive and confident of late.

“I made a joke one day, if he gets a tech in a game, I’ll pay for his tech… because he doesn’t make any expressions,” All-Star Chicago small forward DeMar DeRozan said, hoping to inspire some more on-court aggression from the 2020 No. 4 draft pick out of FSU.

There’s more out of Chicago:

  • At 10-14 on the season, the Bulls seem to be in a bit of a no man’s land when it comes to their short- and long-term futures, opines Bobby Marks of ESPN. After a successful roster overhaul in 2021 led to a fast start, major injuries to Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, and Zach LaVine sank the Bulls in the Eastern Conference standings. The team lost 15 of their final 22 games during the 2021/22 season. Marks notes that, with the Bulls now low on assets after offloading several picks in that eventful 2021 summer, they’re closer to the bottom of the East than the top, and may have more luck trading their best players to get worse than they would trading their limited future draft picks to get better.
  • The Bulls’ Big Three of LaVine, DeRozan, and center Nikola Vucevic all scored 25 or more points to help Chicago close out the Wizards yesterday. This collective success represents exactly what head coach Donovan hoped for when he issued a challenge to the team’s three top scorers last month to mount a simultaneous combined effort, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “We’re definitely capable,” DeRozan said. “There will be games where other guys come up big for us and take the weight off us having to score. It will vary. As long as we stay aggressive and compete our butt off, I think we’ll be fine.”
  • Caruso, recently elevated to the Bulls’ starting lineup ahead of second-year guard Ayo Dosunmu, has earned rave reviews from his coaches and colleagues, Johnson writes in another piece. “He changes the whole game,” DeRozan said. “AC could have four points. But take him out of the game and the game is completely different… He’s a helluva competitor and a helluva person. It’s hard to find teammates like that. The appreciation he has for the game is such a contagious thing. When you’re around him, you feel that joy.”
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