The Bulls‘ bench came up big again on Wednesday in the team’s win over Indiana, scoring a season-high 43 points, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Alex Caruso, Goran Dragic, Andre Drummond, Javonte Green, Derrick Jones, and Coby White have all been regular contributors outside of the starting five, with the team frequently running out lineups that feature Zach LaVine and four reserves.
On Wednesday, Dragic was a game-high plus-19, while Caruso (+18), Drummond (+16), and Jones (+16) were right behind him. LaVine (+12), who saw action with those second units, was the only starter who had a positive rating.
“We mesh really well because everybody does what they do at a high level. And I think it complements each other really well,” Caruso said. “Drum gives us that inside presence—great screener, great rebounder, rim protection. Me on the outside kind of stirring everybody up on defense whether it’s Woo (Green) or D.J. helping out with the four-man doing the same thing. And then any of the guards that are in with us, whether it’s Coby, Goran or Zach, doing a good job making decisive decisions.”
Of the Bulls’ lineups that have played at least 10 minutes so far this season, none have performed better than the five-man group of Caruso, Dragic, LaVine, Jones, and Drummond, which has outscored opponents 42-21 in 17 minutes of play.
Here’s more on the Bulls:
- Drummond, who referred to Chicago’s second unit as “pretty much a starting lineup,” also dubbed himself “the best rebounder of the past century,” Johnson writes for NBC Sports Chicago. And, as Johnson points out, Drummond may have a statistical case for that title, given that his career average of 13.2 rebounds per game ranks first among players since 2000, as does his 24.68% rebounding percentage. The big man is averaging 9.4 RPG this season despite playing just 15.6 MPG.
- It has been four weeks since the Bulls announced they would reevaluate Lonzo Ball in four-to-six weeks following his knee surgery, but head coach Billy Donovan didn’t have any concrete updates on Wednesday, says Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “I have not heard anything as of yet with that,” Donovan said. “He’s doing good. He feels like he’s progressing. He’s pretty optimistic and positive about everything. I think the biggest thing with the surgery is the incision healing in order to continue to make progress, and I just don’t know how far along he is in that process.”
- While Patrick Williams‘ inconsistent start to the season has raised questions about his spot in the starting lineup, it doesn’t sound like Donovan intends to move him to the bench anytime soon, Cowley writes in another Sun-Times story. “I do think that with it being early in the season, taking four or five games and saying, ‘OK, we’re scrapping this,’ you never get a chance to see and maybe get enough information to make those decisions,” Donovan said.
- In a conversation with David Aldridge of The Athletic, Bulls star DeMar DeRozan spoke about embracing his role as a veteran mentor and enjoying a strong second act to his NBA career after being devastated by the trade that sent him to San Antonio following nine seasons in Toronto. “It’s definitely gratifying from the standpoint that I hope I can be an inspiration for guys who lose confidence in themselves. Or they hit a rock in the road, and (are) struggling to figure it out,” DeRozan said. “There’s always a way. You can’t get down on yourself mentally, you can’t doubt yourself. You can’t get caught up into what everybody else may say and the expectations they put on you. As long as you have the ultimate belief in you and your work ethic, that’s the only thing that matters, that will pay off.”