Another Shorthanded Opponent, All Wins Are Good Wins, Keeping Theis Around, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Another Shorthanded Opponent, All Wins Are Good Wins, Keeping Theis Around, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

All content is coming your way a bit late today, unfortunately. Make sure to blame my boss, Brett, for that.

I’m kidding. Please, don’t do that. We don’t need to give them any more reasons to fire me. The whole thing was caused by a super annoying technical error that was completely out of our control. You can read more about it below:

Anyway, back to the hoops!

•   Standing in the way of the Chicago Bulls third three-game winning streak of the season is the Toronto Raptors. Sitting 2.0 games back of Chicago for the 10 seed, tonight’s matchup feels like another must-win outing, especially when we consider Toronto’s injury report. Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and five other players have already been ruled out for tonight’s matchup. It’ll be the second time the Bulls face a Raptors team without multiple starters/key role players available.

•   Still, while this needs to and should be a win, I don’t think we’re in any position to pencil it in. The Bulls might be the better team, but they still have to prove they have reached a new level of consistency. Their dominant win over the depleted Pacers was a good start, as they avoided the all-too-familiar lack of urgency we saw time and again before the trade deadline. This game is a chance to do it again. Tonight is an opportunity to demonstrate that no win or loss will dictate the effort or mentality shown in the next game. Every night is a different battle, and that’s hopefully something more experienced guys like Nikola Vucevic and Daniel Theis can continue to show this locker room.

•   This is a good and important point from Mr. Swirsky.

•   A win is a win, especially in the midst of a close playoff race. Yes, I’d like this Bulls team to be tested by full-strength squads, but I’ll never write off a victory. I also think it’s about time the Bulls caught a break, right? Not only did they receive a tough schedule immediately after the trade deadline (Spurs, Warriors, Suns, Jazz), but they were also dealt a banged-up Zach LaVine and Coby White. Plus, it’s not like the Bulls haven’t been the undermanned team over and over again for opponents in the past. It’s their turn to play some bums, gosh damn it!

•   No matter how winning comes, it can help. Seeing W’s go on the board for this revamped roster can surely lift confidence levels inside the locker room. And, like we said, it’s not like the Bulls played easy competition right after making all these changes. Players had to learn how to integrate talent in the midst of a complicated road trip. Now, they have the opportunity to potentially focus a little less on the opponent and more on their chemistry. So while it may feel like some victories against depleted teams aren’t necessarily preparing them well for tougher competition, an argument could be made in the other direction. There is value up here *points to head* and out there *points to court.*

•   Over the last several games, we have seen a new Bulls identity begin to take shape. The pace of play has slowed down, the post action with Vooch has picked up, and the self-inflicted wounds have slowly started to dissipate. Still, exactly who this team will be moving forward will remain awfully foggy for the remainder of the season. The offseason will pose an entirely fresh, less-limited opportunity to shake up this roster. If the trade deadline is any indication, then we should expect some relatively drastic changes too. NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson touched on some of this in his latest mailbag, speculating a bit on what roster moves the FO might make. Check it out.

•   One topic I loved to see Johnson mention is the potential re-signing of big man Daniel Theis. To be clear, this isn’t any kind of report, but I would lean toward believing the organization will make it a priority this offseason. Clearly, this team views strong frontcourt play as pivotal in their success, and they also would not have traded for Theis (an upcoming unrestricted FA), if they weren’t at least somewhat interested in his value long-term. As a versatile offensive player, he allows this team to avoid any kind of massive sacrifice while Vooch is off the court. Even better, he gives them a physical rim-protecting presence that can also clock minutes at the four. I am a bit worried there is a world where his price gets too high – after all, he was a starter for the Celtics all of last season and performed well – but we’ll see.

•   Like the inconsiderate nitwit I am, I forgot to give Patrick Williams a shoutout for his four steals on Tuesday night! The rookie continues to provide promising flashes in almost every category imaginable on the court. I know he may not be stuffing the stat sheet on a nightly basis, but the balance and all-around game he continues to show is what makes it feel like the Bulls have truly landed something special. It’s just becoming harder and harder to find areas of his game that can’t develop into something well above average.

•   Michael Pena wrote words about the Bulls’ bright future, and you should read those words.

•   Chicago Sky brought the fire!

https://twitter.com/JamalCollier/status/1380170010182754305?s=20



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is a writer for Bleacher Nation and a human being. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.