The Outbreak Continues, Welcoming McKinnie, All-Star Voting Begins, and Other Bulls Bullets

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The Outbreak Continues, Welcoming McKinnie, All-Star Voting Begins, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls






The Chicago Bulls announced this morning that Alfonzo McKinnie will receive a full-time roster spot, officially replacing forward Alize Johnson.

Welcome home, Alfonzo! And thanks for the memories, Alize!

•   The decision to hand McKinnie a promotion does not come as a massive surprise. In fact, I almost expected as much after how comfortable he looked over his first few games in a Bulls uniform. With the ability to guard multiple positions, an improved 3-ball, and solid postseason experience, McKinnie felt like an obvious fit for this contending Bulls roster. Meanwhile, a strong rebounder with good body control around the rim and some playmaking upside, Johnson was someone that made sense at the time for this Bulls roster. However, as the season went on and the team’s athletic identity materialized, Johnson struggled to find a permanent place in the rotation.

•   The Bulls simply have to ask themselves “who can contribute more?” McKinnie looked like the obvious answer to that question over his first few games with the team. Could Johnson have turned into that guy down the road? Perhaps. He is still only 25. But McKinnie looked like a been-there-done-that talent who could impact winning sooner than later. Remember, this is the guy who appeared in 72 games for the 2018-19 Finals-bound Warriors, including 22 playoff games. The Los Angeles Lakers also brought him aboard last season, where he appeared in 39 games. So while we shouldn’t label McKinnie some kind of massive difference-maker, he knows how to fill a roll on a winning roster.

•   I also can’t help but give McKinnie props for showing continued improvement at 29 years old. Sure, G-League numbers are not often indicative of NBA success, but it’s hard not to like what we’ve seen from him behind the arc. A career 33.3 percent 3-point shooter, it appears he’s made some real strides in this department this season with a 43.3 percent clip in the G-League and 50.0 percent clip over his three games with Chicago thus far.

•   Unfortunately, what McKinnie will bring to the Bulls in this full-time role will have to be something we wait to see. The veteran forward got his true initiation to the roster this morning by entering the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols alongside Tony Bradley. Oh, and guess who joined him only a couple of hours later?

•   To be honest, it’s pretty miraculous Ball has evaded a stint in protocols up until this point, but thank goodness he did! The roster has been decimated since the start of December, and Ball’s ability to stay healthy has been vital in the Bulls winning five of seven games this month. And while his departure over the next handful of games will surely sting, it should sting less knowing that Zach LaVine will rejoin DeMar DeRozan in the starting lineup later tonight.

•   The other good news for the Bulls is that their opponents over the next few games will be missing their own group of players. The Atlanta Hawks, who the Bulls battles twice after tonight’s matchup with the Pacers, saw forward John Collins enter protocols this morning along with rookie forward Jalen Johnson. Those two join Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, and several other role players in quarantine.

•   If y’all don’t vote DeMar DeRozan to the All-Star team I will sue. Same goes for Zach LaVine.

•   Death. Taxes. The NBA talking about a midseason tournament.


Author: Elias Schuster

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