It has been hard to know what to expect from the Bulls on a night-to-night basis so far this season.
After capping a four-game losing streak with a home loss to Orlando last Friday, the team had its two best wins of the season on Monday in Boston and Wednesday in Milwaukee. The win over the Bucks was Chicago’s best defensive outing of the year, as Darnell Mayberry wrote for The Athletic.
However, the Bulls followed up those two statement games with a letdown performance on Friday, falling in overtime to Oklahoma City.
According to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times, head coach Billy Donovan had braced for some up and downs in the early part of this season as the club tried to move away from leaning so heavily on DeMar DeRozan‘s isolation-heavy offense and late-game heroics.
“DeMar took us as far as he can take us (last season), and we really have to look at, OK, how can we make another step or jump?” Donovan said. “If we get back to that, where it’s all (isolations) all the time, it just gets too easy to defend. This is going to take some time offensively for us to play the way we need to play, which is a little bit different.”
Here’s more on the Bulls:
- The 2021 deadline trade that sent Nikola Vucevic to Chicago has netted the Magic a pair of potential building blocks (Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter Jr.), with another lightly protected first-round pick still to come. Still, Vucevic isn’t worried about the critics who wish the Bulls hadn’t made the deal. “I know some people want to bring back the trade, the picks that were given, but it happened,” Vucevic told Cowley of The Sun-Times. “If it didn’t, it’s not for sure the Bulls would have picked Wagner or hit on the pick. Who knows what would have happened?” As Cowley observes, without the Vucevic trade, it’s also not clear whether free agents DeRozan and Lonzo Ball would’ve chosen Chicago later in 2021.
- It has taken some time for former No. 4 overall pick Patrick Williams to get comfortable at the NBA level, but the third-year forward finally seems to be finding a rhythm, according to Cowley, who writes for The Sun-Times that Williams hasn’t looked as passive recently as he did during the first few weeks of the season.
- Although two-time All-Star Andre Drummond is averaging a career-low 15.4 minutes per game this season, he has no intention of pushing for more playing time as long as the Bulls believe his limited role gives them the best chance to win games. “I’m at a point now where I’m just focusing on winning,” Drummond said this week, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “I told Billy and the guys when I came here from the beginning: ‘Whatever you guys need me to do to help win, that’s what I’m willing to do.’ If that’s to play eight minutes, 12 minutes, 30 minutes, I’m able to do that. I’m cool with the role that I have. I just have to maintain it.”