As it stands, the word rebounding may not be in the Bulls vocabulary.
After a dismal 1-4 start to the season, this team is facing far more negatives than positives. And while those problems stretch far beyond a singular issue like rebounding, that struggle is certainly the most glaring. Even the Bulls lackluster defense has shown small signs of improvement (especially when you consider the turnover numbers).
Simply put, the Bulls have been out-rebounded in every game this season except one … so queue the embarrassing stat line:
The Bulls are -57 rebounding through 5 games, the second-worst rebounding margin through 5 games in the last 7 NBA seasons (Wizards -71 in 2018-19).
— Jeff Mangurten (@JeffGurt) October 31, 2019
With Wendell Carter Jr., Lauri Markkanen, and Thaddeus Young on the roster, I’m sure rebounding was never expected to be the Bulls’ number one problem. But here we are.
The team is currently last-place in rebounding percentage, with the defensive glass posing the biggest challenge (29th in DREB%). Somewhat shockingly, the team has managed to post a respectable performance on the offensive end of the court (currently 15th in the league).
The lack of aggression in the paint has been all too real. Markkanen and Carter Jr. have two games where they both hauled in double-digit rebounds, but none of these performances happened on the same night. The rest of the team has been practically no help whatsoever, and the three-guard rotation off the bench (with Kris Dunn, Coby White, and Ryan Arcidiacono) sure isn’t doing the team any favors.
Now, it’s not like any of those three players should be rebounding the ball all that well, but with no traditional forward on the bench to back up Otto Porter, the Bulls are dealing with one less capable rebounder on the court during those stretches.
Speaking of Porter, his slow start has certainly impacted these stats. The veteran averaged 5.6 rebounds per game last season but has started this year averaging only 3.4. He finally looked closer to his old self in the Bulls loss to the Cavaliers, when he dropped 15 points and pulled down five boards … but consistency is key.
At the end of the day, while more production from the backcourt is needed in general, the Bulls rebounding woes comes down to the frontcourt play. I wish there was a better way to analyze their struggles, but these guys are just being out-played and out-manned.
One of the most frustrating things is the Bulls have the size and length to be a good rebounding team. I even pointed out previously that this starting lineup is one of the biggest in the NBA. However, I guess the will to get the job done just isn’t there.
Whatever the reason is, I’m not sure how this team can fix this … but let’s hope they somehow do.