The All-Star break provides us with some much-needed time to reflect, so what better way to do just that than with some cliche yearbook superlatives! There are several betters ways? Are you sure? Oh …
Let’s jump in!
Cutest Couple – Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan
No couple has melted as many hearts as Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. Despite hallway gossip about their capability, all it took was 59 regular-season games for these two to become one of the hottest duos in the NBA. They remain the only teammates to rank inside the NBA’s top-15 scorers and have vaulted the Bulls’ offense into the league’s top-4. They also became the first All-Star duo to represent Chicago in the All-Star Game since Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol did so in the 2015-16 season.
While we’re all waiting patiently to see how they can do in the next stage of their relationship, there is no question they will get there. Their combined effort is why this Bulls team sits tied at the top of the Eastern Conference, and it’s this combined effort the organization hopes to rely on moving forward.
Some cute moments …
Zach LaVine on himself and DeMar DeRozan: “We’re the best duo in the NBA.”
— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) February 19, 2022
Watching Zach LaVine interrupt DeMar DeRozan’s postgame press conference is the wholesome content we all need. pic.twitter.com/AtTy16EkXO
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) February 17, 2022
Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan Have the NBA’s Best Bromancehttps://t.co/epwCOK4qvu
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) February 1, 2022
Most Likely to Succeed – Ayo Dosunmu
All Ayo Dosunmu has done since he’s stepped on an NBA court is show 29 other teams the mistake they made on draft night. The 38th-overall pick has quickly proven to be a lottery-level talent, carving himself out a key rotational role for the 38-21 Chicago Bulls. His two-way skillset and beyond-his-years basketball IQ earned him a Rising Stars nod at this year’s All-Star Weekend, making him the lowest draft pick to crack the roster this season.
Arguably the most impressive thing about Dosunmu thus far has been his ability to show constant improvement across the board. He earned himself playing time with some tremendous on-ball defense against some of the NBA’s top scorers, but what followed was a blend of playmaking and scoring that clicked far sooner than anyone could have expected.
His rise up the rookie ladder has been so impressive that head coach Billy Donovan rewarded him with the starting point guard role after Lonzo Ball required knee surgery. In that role, Dosunmu has averaged 11.8 points, 6.8 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game over the last 18 contests. He’s also shot an efficient 52.8 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from downtown. The facilitating has been particularly eye-popping, as Dosunmu has ranked 6th in the NBA in total assists since January 15th.
Dosunmu already felt like a potential steal on draft night, but this has turned into a highway robbery. The Bulls have a truly special young talent on their hands, and his ceiling only seems to grow higher by the game.
Players with the most assists since January 16th …
The rookie is COOKING. pic.twitter.com/WdatzGYA4b
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) February 16, 2022
Most Involved – Javonte Green
No one does more than Javonte Green.
Arturas Karnisovas snatched Green from the Boston Celtics as part of a three-team deal during last season’s trade deadline. At the time, the move felt like nothing more than salary filler, as big man Daniel Theis and young forward Troy Brown Jr. looked to be the more important acquisitions. However, one offseason extension and a successful Summer League later, it became clear the Bulls saw serious potential in Green. The 28-year-old is now averaging 24.2 minutes for the Bulls over his 41 appearances this season. He has started 31 games for head coach Billy Donovan, easily looking like the “most involved” in each one.
Green is a hustle machine. He crashes the glass hard, cuts to the basket in a ferocious fashion, sprints in transition, swarms the basketball on defense, and relentlessly puts his body on the line. Green has been the ideal role player for a team powered by an All-Star-caliber trio, and nothing has demonstrated that more than his past 13 games.
Asked to take on an even greater offensive load with Zach LaVine in and out of the lineup, Green has averaged 11.8 points on a 61.3 percent field goal percentage since January 24th. He scored in double figures in 8 of the 13 games, including a career-high 23 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier this month.
Whatever the Bulls have needed Green to do, he’s done, and he’s a big reason why they have stayed afloat amid significant injury trouble.
Javonte Green Just Wants to Do the Little Things, And That’s All the Bulls Needhttps://t.co/nFzmqTZ2dh
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) December 30, 2021
Biggest Procrastinator – Marko Simonovic
Seriously, when is Marko Simonovic going to finish his G-League assignment?
I understand that not all 2nd round picks can be Ayo Dosunmu, but the Bulls’ decision to hand Simonovic a longer contract than No. 38 pick becomes stranger by the day. The 22-year-old has appeared in just nine games this season, all of which were brief garbage-time stints. The rest of his time has primarily been spent hanging with the Windy City Bulls, where he has averaged 15.7 points and 10.3 rebounds over 20 games.
G-League dominance isn’t a great indication of what will happen at the NBA level. However, it is a bit concerning to think these numbers are still not enough to get him a taste of real action, especially with frontcourt depth desperately needed. The good news is that Simonovic remains plenty young, and practicing with the Bulls while also playing in the G-League isn’t the worst way to develop. However, we can’t forget that he is taking up a full-time roster spot, which means he’ll have to prove he can contribute at some level sooner than later.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) February 22, 2022
Most Likely to Become a Superhero – Coby White
First things first, Coby White’s Nickname is “Subzero.” When you have that dope of a nickname, you are immediately the most likely to become a superhero. I don’t make the rules.
With that said, White does provide some other superhero-like tendencies – the greatest of which is his ability to save the day off the bench. Since the start of the new year, the sparkplug scorer has shot 42.9 percent from long-range on roughly 7.0 attempts per game. This has easily made for one of the most efficient shooting stretches of his career, and it’s led to him averaging nearly 16.7 points per game for a Bulls team currently lacking guard depth.
White may not fly through the air or win every matchup, but he has hit big shots in big moments and hustled like never before on the defensive end. He’s simply someone who makes this team better, which is exactly why this front office chose to keep him in town past the trade deadline.
Best Shoulder to Cry On – Alex Caruso
If I had a nickel for every time I saw Alex Caruso coach someone up on the sideline … I’d have a lot of nickels. While he may not be on the floor for several more weeks, Caruso appears to be an engaged and necessary presence inside this Bulls’ locker room. I trust him to give these players legitimately helpful advice. And, when he does return to the court, I also trust him to be the vocal leader this team leans on when playing defense.
Best Attitude – Nikola Vucevic
Many bashed Vucevic at the beginning of this season, but he is now averaging 20.6 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 3.8 assists in 2022. Way to stick with it, Vooch.
Biggest Flirt – Alfonzo McKinnie
Remember when the Bulls thought Alfonzo McKinnie could fill a need after three decent games? Good times.
Cutest Couple That Never Was – Mac McClung & Jordan Bell
A combined … two games.
Life of the Party – Tristan Thompson
Give it time.