Another Loss, LaVine and DeRozan Band Together, A Flawed Roster, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Another Loss, LaVine and DeRozan Band Together, A Flawed Roster, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

It’s Monday, I’m cold, and the Bulls are on a three-game losing streak.

I thought this was supposed to be the most magical time of the year, Santa!

  • I’m not the first to say it, but coming home from the road trip 3-3 would’ve felt a lot better than 2-4. While losing to the Suns, Warriors, and Kings isn’t considered embarrassing this season, the Bulls’ 9-14 record very much is. This was a team that doubled down on its core and set a clear expectation of improving on last year’s first-round exit. To say the Bulls don’t look capable of that this season would be an understatement, as they sit with the 24th-ranked net rating and are in the thick of another concerning losing streak.
  • For my sanity, I have no choice but to look for bright spots with 59 games left to go. And the first is that … well … there are 59 games left to go. That’s a lot of time for the Bulls to figure things out or make a trade or two to pivot back toward a brighter tomorrow. It also surely doesn’t hurt that they now play four of their next five games back at the United Center, where they’re at least a semi-more-respectable 5-5 on the year.
  • Another positive: The Bulls’ All-Star duo seems to be on the same page. They both said the right things after last night’s game, putting pressure on themselves to right the ship and band the team together. As disappointed parents like to say, however, actions speak louder than words. It’s easy to believe that LaVine and DeRozan want to work together to turn this thing around, but doing it is a completely different beast. You can read more thoughts from each player in NBC Sports Chicago’s piece below:
  • Also, in case you missed it, the Bulls are reportedly set on building around these two. Whether that’s a good idea or even true is open to interpretation, but one report suggests that neither will be made available for trade this season.
  • Let me preface what I’m about to say with this: I love Alex Caruso. I think that he is the epitome of a winning player and somebody who – if you can believe it – has saved this season from looking even uglier. With that made clear, it’s pretty darn frustrating to see him post 0 points in the starting lineup. I know that his value rarely stems from the scoring column, which is fine, but this offense can not afford to have somebody contribute nothing in that department over 30 minutes of action. The guy needs to hit at least a few shots.
  • Now, again, I point that out knowing how influential he is on the opposite end. Caruso helped set the tone defensively last night with 3 steals and 2 blocks. The Bulls did hold the NBA’s second-highest-scoring team to 110 points, which happened to be 9 points below their nightly average. Not to mention, they also forced them into 18 turnovers. The Bulls’ defensive rating now sits 12th in the NBA, and they continue to sit top-3 in forced turnovers per game.
  • You know this roster is pretty darn flawed when the defense is the only thing it has going for it. I don’t need to remind anyone that the Bulls are built around three offensive-minded All-Stars. The fact they sit 25th in offensive rating is simply unacceptable, and it speaks to just how poorly built this core happens to be. I’m not saying that I don’t think a team with LaVine, DeRozan, and Vucevic can be successful (they were for most of last year). But I am saying that the margin for error is too small. The rest of the roster better be perfectly built and/or fully healthy to plug the obvious holes (perimeter defense/shooting/rim protection). It’s not.
  • Remember how awesome Andre Drummond was to start the season? Yeah, things have fallen off a bit. We’ve now seen Donovan go with small-ball lineups instead of trusting Drummond at times.
  • I do miss Daniel Gafford’s jams.
  • Shocker (*he says with gobs of sarcasm*).
  • Just get me a top-2 pick or something, please.
  • Which Chicago team has the brightest future right now?


Author: Elias Schuster

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