Cole Anthony Trolls the Bulls, Start Javonte? NBA Injuries Pile Up, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Cole Anthony Trolls the Bulls, Start Javonte? NBA Injuries Pile Up, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

First Joel Embiid, now Cole freakin’ Anthony.

The Orlando Magic point guard – who didn’t even suit up for his team’s win over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night – took to Instagram for a good old fashion troll job. The photo features one-half of Wendell Carter Jr.’s face and one-half of Franz Wagner’s face with the simple caption “Thank you, Chicago.”

  • Obviously, Carter Jr. was sent to Orlando alongside Otto Porter and two first-round picks for the services of All-Star big man Nikola Vucevic. Wagner was then drafted with one of those first-round selections in the No. 8 spot of the 2021 NBA Draft. While the Magic still have to prove their rebuild – which also netted them No. 1-overall pick Paolo Banchero this offseason – will lead to sustained success, both Carter Jr. and Wagner have looked like long-term pieces to their puzzle. And they showed the Bulls just that by combining for 41 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists on 57.6 percent shooting earlier this week.
  • I’m not ready to rehash the Vucevic trade right here right now, but I don’t think anyone can deny that it hasn’t aged well. As much as I respect what it meant for the organization at the time (it was the kind of aggressiveness that we should see from a big market franchise), Vucevic just hasn’t played like the player the Bulls thought they were getting. Not to mention, his lack of rim protection has proven to be quite detrimental to a starting lineup that also has Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan locked into it.
  • To be sure, I still believe that Vucevic can perform at an All-Star level in the right environment. He’s a double-double machine and is one of the few big men who can hit the 3-ball at an efficient rate (he’s back to shooting 38.2 percent this season). I also believe that Carter Jr. would have never become the player we see today in Chicago. The same can be said about Lauri Markkanen. Sometimes change is necessary, especially after being in an environment that was so toxic for so long. If they were drafted under this new regime, maybe things are different.
  • So did Javonte Green finally prove how important he is to this team? Aside for DeRozan, Green was easily the most influential part of helping the Bulls climb back from a 19-point deficit. He scored 8 points on a perfect 4-4 performance with 3 steals despite only appearing in the second half of action. Donovan said after the game that he liked the way Derrick Jones Jr. has been playing as of last, which is why Green didn’t find his way onto the floor. But I think it’s more than clear now that Green belongs as a staple in this rotation.
  • In fact, as a team that has lost six of its last seven games, I’d recommend throwing the guy back in the starting lineup. I’m sure that decision isn’t necessarily an easy one with Patrick Williams starting to find a rhythm, but nobody provides the kind of energy that Green does on this roster. And, right now, the Bulls are in desperate need of some energy.
  • The Chicago Bulls held Fan Jam at the United Center on Saturday. The entire team was in attendance to run through practice and meet supporters. It’s pretty cool to see even the biggest stars spend this time with the community.
  • The injury bug has started to bite. Several players suffered some bruises this weekend, including two key contributors on Eastern Conference playoff teams. Philly’s Tyrese Maxey, who is off to the best start of his career, sustained a foot injury that will sideline him for 3-4 weeks. The news comes as the 76ers sit just 8-8 on the season and James Harden also remains sidelined with a foot injury.
  • Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers learned that backup big man Kevin Love suffered a hairline fracture in his right thumb. There seems to be a belief that he can eventually play through the injury, but it will certainly be something to monitor for the former All-Star who has become quite the valuable role player for Cleveland.
  • The final big man to hit the injury report this week is Ja Morant. The superstar guard is dealing with an ankle injury that will have to be re-evaluated on a week-to-week basis. Memphis proved last year that they can still perform at a high level without Morant on the floor, but they may not be able to replicate that success with Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. also still stuck on the sideline.
  • I can dig it.

Author: Elias Schuster

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