Starting Lineup Change, Patrick Williams' Comments, Kerr Talks to Caruso, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Starting Lineup Change, Patrick Williams’ Comments, Kerr Talks to Caruso, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Yes, the Bulls kept it close against the Golden State Warriors. And, no, they shouldn’t be totally embarrassed about dropping a game to the defending champs.

But we shouldn’t necessarily be happy about that fact.

We have moved past the point of moral victories. Last year, when the team was coming into its own, it was acceptable to look at a battle like this as some form of progress. They almost erased a 19-point deficit and put themselves in a position to beat a team who was 9-1 at home. That’s generally palatable, right?

The problem is that having to claw back into games has become far too much of a trend. Chicago simply shouldn’t need to fall down double digits to play their best basketball. Not to mention, the whole point of “continuity” is to form a beneficial level of consistency and late-game execution. The Bulls have done the opposite.

So while I get that you aren’t going to win every game in the NBA, I’m about done searching for moral victories. A loss is a loss when the main goal is to win.

  • When you’re off to a 9-13 start and possess one of the bottom 10 offenses in the league, a starting lineup change feels like it’s worth a good old fashion try. Ayo Dosunmu and Patrick Williams may not have done anything to warrant a benching, but they also haven’t particularly done enough to prove they are un-benchable. Also, let’s not kid ourselves, Billy Donovan just isn’t going to demote Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, or Nikola Vucevic.
  • Alex Caruso and Javonte Green felt like the right picks for a starting lineup shake-up. Caruso provides the kind of defensive voice this team desperately needs on the floor, while Green is an endless ball of heart and hustle. The two helped the Bulls avoid one of their signature slow starts, and I’d say it looked decent enough for Donovan to try again on Sunday against the Kings.
  • Having said that, though, the Bulls still faced a 19-point deficit and lost the game. It wasn’t like we saw some kind of rejuvenated team on the floor, as the same old problems shooting the basketball and executing down the stretch came into play. Once again, I think that speaks to how much work this roster needs. A lot of people try to throw head coach Billy Donovan under the bus, but it’s evident that he’s doing his best to find something that works. Unfortunately, it’s extremely hard to do that when you don’t have the right pieces to tinker with.
  • Speaking of which, the Bulls continue to get pummeled behind the 3-point line …
  • I saw a lot of folks start to throw virtual tomatoes at Patrick Williams after NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson tweeted this:
  • Context is important. Johnson went on to share Williams’ full comments in an article late last night. And, shocker, he didn’t sound like some soft, down-on-his-luck bust of a lottery pick. Williams merely stated that the team’s lack of production didn’t make some sort of rotational change all that surprising:

“I kind of expected it. Not necessarily the change that he made, but we haven’t been playing to the level that we know we need to play to,” Williams told Johnson. “So obviously trying different lineups is just part of figuring out what works and what doesn’t work. I’m with whatever to win. Just trust the process and control what you can control as a player. I trust Billy and the coaching staff. I’m all for it if they think it can help the team.”

  • At the end of the day, that’s the response you’re going to get from most young professionals. Williams isn’t about to call out his head coach or stir up some drama. But, don’t worry, he did go on to suggest that he believes he belongs in that first group:

“I know what I bring to the table on both ends of the floor. I think I’m really good on both ends. I can still get better on both ends,. Obviously, everybody wants to be a starter and play 48 minutes. But whether you start or come off the bench, you want to do your job. It’s never like I want to see whoever took my spot do bad or anything like that. Because we’re all on the same team.”

  • Williams probably isn’t going to win over many in the fan base right now. I get it. He’s someone who has failed to meet his high expectations thus far, which is basically going to put him in a lose-lose situation no matter how he reacts to this. I think he said all the right things, though. Let’s just hope he now increasingly shows signs of life on the court.
  • What made me the madest is that this team gave me hope.
  • It wasn’t long before I saw Warrior fans freaking out about this exchange between Kerr and Caruso.
  • I’m no lip reader, so I can’t confirm nor deny what Kerr told the Bulls’ best defensive player. However, I do find it pretty hard to believe that a head coach would walk over to a guy in front of a bunch of cameras and straight-up tell him that he would love to have him on his team. For all we know, the two were talking about golfing or dinner or fishing or whatever. Having said that, we should fully expect little moments like these to be blown out of proportion over the next several months. Everyone and their mother seems to want the Bulls to tank and sell off their veteran pieces.
  • Why does everyone want the Bulls to tank? Well, some of these numbers might help explain it.
  • I need to know more.
  • I’m listening.

Author: Elias Schuster

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