Chicago has gone 1-2 without the 6’6″ swingman, the team’s leading scorer and best player.
“You get a different perspective when you are sitting back and watching from afar,” DeRozan said of his absence. “We were just having too many lapses here and there, whether defensively or offensively, that put us in a hole and made it so tough for us to get back in a lot of games. And we’re still right there.”
If by “right there” he means barely in the play-in tournament bracket, then he’s right. At 20-24, the Bulls currently occupy the tenth seed in the East, though they are tied with the No. 11 Raptors.
There’s more out of the Windy City:
- Bulls center Nikola Vucevic, a trade candidate given he’s on an expiring deal, tied his career high with 43 points in a 132-118 home win over the Warriors Sunday, writes Alex Shapiro of NBC Sports Chicago. Vucevic also contributed 13 points, four assists and four steals in a well-rounded effort. “He’s so dynamic because he can shoot the three, play the pocket, he can make the floater, the hook shot,” second-year guard Ayo Dosunmu raved. “He’s got all of that in his bag. He’s also unselfish, so sometimes he gets in the pick and roll, if he doesn’t have it he hits the weakside person.”
- Starting Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball, who has missed just over a full calendar year following complications from two knee surgeries, conceded that he may not return to the floor for Chicago this season, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “I mean, naturally, yeah, everything is on a time schedule,” Ball said when asked if missing the entire season is a possibility. “I would love to play. I would never count that out. It’s a long year, I feel like we’re hitting our stride right now. So hopefully I can keep getting better, the team will keep getting better and we can meet up.”
- Chicago team president Arturas Karnisovas addressed fans during a recent appearance on NBC Sports Chicago’s Bulls Talk podcast. “I enjoy the fan base and how much they love the team and how involved they are,” Karnišovas said (h/t to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports for the transcription). “It’s not fun when we lose. I’m a very competitive person. That’s what you need to know. I don’t take losses lightly. I get emotional just like you. We’re trying to turn this around.”