Time to bounce back.
GAME DAY. Gotta bounce back.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) April 11, 2021
• The Chicago Bulls may have beaten the two teams that sit on either side of them in the standings this week, but that doesn’t mean they’ve made up much ground. With a loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the team still sits comfortably with a 2.0 game gap between the Pacers (9th) and Raptors (11th) in the 10th seed. They will not only need to get back in the win column tonight, but they will also have to hope Indiana hits a bump in the road. Fortunately, the Pacers do have the Clippers, Jazz, and Hawks all on the schedule this week, while the Bulls look to face the Grizzlies (x2), Magic, and Cavaliers. If the Bulls can take care of business, then this could very well be the week they finally sneak up on the nine seed.
• Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. The Chicago Bulls have to beat the last-place Minnesota Timberwolves tonight before they even think about making up playoff ground. The last time these two teams played, the T-Wolves gave the Bulls a real scare by sending the game to OT. Karl-Anthony Towns had a strong performance with 24 points and 8 rebounds, while rookie Anthony Edwards piled on 21 points with 9 rebounds. Minnesota also kept things this close without D’Angelo Russell on the floor, who recently returned to action and has averaged 22.7 points on 42.3 percent shooting from the field and 39.1 percent shooting from downtown over his first three games. The Bulls are still significantly the better team on paper, especially with their new upgrades, but there is no question this matchup still has trap-game written all over it.
• lol look at this bet …
Smart Bet https://t.co/nvpPKErbhM
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) April 10, 2021
• Nikola Vucevic commented on this team’s future in his latest Q&A with Alex Kennedy of Basketballnews.com … and it’s got me feeling some kind of way.
That’s one thing I’m very excited about: the team has great potential. It has very good structure, and we’re built to be successful for years to come, which is very important in this league. Knowing Zach, he’s one of the best players at his position in this league and he had a great year this year; he was an All-Star, and I think he will be one for many years to come.It’s always great to play alongside a guy like that and it’s going to make my life easier, and hopefully I can make his life easier as well on the court. But I believe in Zach and I, and once we really grow our chemistry and build that two-man game, I think we can be very, very good and help our team in many ways and make it difficult for other teams to defend us.
• The first step toward greatness is believing you’re capable of it. I have no idea how special this duo will be – there is no question the team still has to add strong complementary pieces to make it work (perimeter defenders and improved ballhandlers) – but it’s important to know that both LaVine and Vooch believe this can be a special pairing. The more they respect each other, the more effort they will put into building that necessary chemistry. Give Kennedy’s full interview a read through the link below.
Nikola Vucevic: "I’ve never played with anyone who’s as good of a scorer as Zach [LaVine] is… Once we really grow our chemistry and build that two-man game, I think we can be very, very good and make it difficult for other teams to defend us."
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 10, 2021
• Marko Simonvic getting some national love. *major eyeball emoji*
Bulls 2020 draft and stash Marko Simonovic having a great year for a Mega: 15.9 PTS and 8.9 REBS in 31 MIN while shooting 60% from 2 and 37% from 3. The 21-year-old, 6-11 big had turned himself into a real floor spacer. pic.twitter.com/t4qiaaBmAW
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) April 11, 2021
• I’d love an update on the Bulls’ plans for the second-round big man. What’s interesting is that – on paper – Simonovic kind of sounds like Vucevic lite. He may not have the kind of playmaking power or post-up skills that Vucevic possesses, but he does appear to space the floor and rebound at a high level. With that in mind, the Bulls could have even more of an incentive to bring Simonvic to the states this offseason. Not only is he producing at a high enough level where he could be ready for an NBA experiment, but learning behind a guy like Vuevic could do wonders for his future development.
• Another thing to keep in mind is whether or not Simonovic’s looming presence could keep the Bulls out of the backup big market. Resigning Daniel Theis this offseason seems like it would be a huge win, especially on the defensive end, but is there a world where the Bulls decide not to go that route since they’re interested in giving Simonovic some run? I’d probably side with no since Theis is still the more experienced product and provides a needed defensive spark. HOWEVER, I don’t think it’s too crazy to think that Simonovic could impact some of the front office’s decision-making down the road (again, especially since he is performing well).
• Speaking of Theis … he needs more than 15 minutes, Billy.
I watched Hawks-Bulls this afternoon:
-Onyeka Okongwu is slowly but surely figuring things out. He's going to be a player eventuallly.
-The Bulls may need to just go to Daniel Theis as the lone backup big and only us Lauri Markkanen in certain spots. Not enough D w/o Theis.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) April 10, 2021