Adding More Emergency Talent, Missing DJJ, A More Consistent Vooch, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Adding More Emergency Talent, Missing DJJ, A More Consistent Vooch, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

The significant other got me a coffee-themed advent calendar this season for a little extra holiday cheer. Every morning I get to sing open a little flap and a new Keruig Cup is there to perk up my morning. It’s lovely.

The calendar is filled with varying holiday blends, and while I’d expect nothing less, part of me is kind of hoping I stumble upon a gasp-worthy K-Cup one of these days. You know, like Green Mountain Lima Bean or Caribou Lasagna or McCafe’s Three-Day-Old-Leftovers. How funny would that be? Sure, it might make for an absolutely dreadful cup of coffee, but I’d drink it out of respect for the bit.

•   Derrick Jones Jr. is out (Health and Safety Protocols) and Alfonzo McKinnie is in.

•   McKinnie joins Stanley Johnson as the second Bulls player currently on a 10-day contract. Both were eligible to sign under the NBA’s hardship exception, which Chicago was able to use after five players entered Health and Safety Protocols and both Patrick Williams (wrist) and Alex Caruso (hamstring) remained on the injury report. While the expectation should be that neither clock that many minutes over the next couple of games, especially since the Bulls could get a couple of players back at the start of next week, we should never say never in this current environment.

•   The roster has been torn apart by this recent outbreak, and we saw the impact that had on the Bulls Wednesday night. Everything looked discombobulated from the start against the Cavaliers’ 4th-ranked defense, as a crushing amount of weight fell on Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic for the second game in a row. Things will likely stay this tough on Saturday, when the team takes on the Miami Heat on Saturday, currently hold the 9th-highest net rating in the NBA. With that in mind, it actually might not hurt to mix things up. Not only can Johnson provide much-needed defensive length in the absence of Derrick Jones Jr., but he and McKinnie are two players fighting to prove their NBA worth. Even if they may not be caught up to speed with the Bulls system, the Bulls can’t even run that system to the best of their ability right now. So letting a thirsty Johnson and McKinnie clock a few minutes to try to wreak havoc might be better than nothing.

•   Every player-loss is a big loss for the Bulls right now, but the addition of Derrick Jones Jr. to the injury report came with an extra sting. Jones has been remarkably fun to watch this season as he finds his way as a small-ball five and shoots a career-high 62.6 percent effective field goal percentage. In an already thin frontcourt for Chicago, he has also offered tremendous length and verticality that has been a key part of this defense performing better than expected. Jones’ 21 blocks on the year are 5th-most among players 6’7″ or shorter. No, his individual absence may not be as significant of a blow as DeRozan or Caruso, but he has displayed an important set of two-way skills that has helped keep the Bulls in several games. Get well soon, DJJ.

•   If the Bulls stand any chance with this many injuries, they will need Nikola Vucevic to do the exact opposite of what he did against the Cavaliers. Technically, the big man has looked better since a return from his stint in Health and Safety Protocols, but he’s beginning to slip back into his early-season ways these past few games. Vucevic has shot just 35.0 percent from the field over the Bulls’ last three contests, including a super icky (#ExpertAnalysis) 8-23 performance on Wednesday night.

“Obviously, making shots is a big part of my game and something I have to do consistently and something I take a lot of pride on,” Vucevic said after the Bulls 115-92 loss to the Cavaliers. “I think for my career I was always an efficient player, so it’s just frustrates me a little bit.”


•   Major facts.

•   Hear me out …

•   Sure, you laugh now, but what happens when Benny starts to drain shots backward from halfcourt? Or when he pulls out the trampoline during a fastbreak and sets Zach LaVine up for the front-flip dunk? Or when he dumps so much popcorn on Kyle Lowry that he gets butterfingers and can’t dribble? Just don’t knock it until you try it.

•   Is Lance available?

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.