The Bulls have continued their hot pace heading into the heart of the season now. Chicago sits at 17-9 through 26 games and is currently in second in the eastern conference. Despite this, like every team, the Bulls as a team and the players individually have had their highs and lows. Given that, let’s take a look at a few guys and my two cents on them.
I figured I’d start on the low note just to get it out the way. Just to clarify I don’t look at anyone in a super negative light on this roster. Even though I feel a little harsh about it, a quarter of the way through the regular season some guys have to be thrown to the fire as this team is in win-now mode.
This was the first name that came to mind for this list. Coby was one of the few guys left from last season’s roster and was moved to the bench in sort of a primary scorer role as he didn’t have to play out of position as a playmaker alongside Zach LaVine anymore. While it might be a little unfair given him coming back from an injury and that he got sent into Covid protocol right when he was seeming to catch a rhythm, the NBA is a dog-eat-dog world and outside of a few games, he hasn’t done much for the Bulls.
White has played in nine games so far this season with one start averaging 17.6 minutes per game. Outside of his scoring, he doesn’t bring much to the table and he hasn’t even brought that yet this season averaging 6.1 points on measly 35/23/57 splits. He’s not great on defense and he doesn’t bring much in the playmaking department. Given all of this and the few assets Chicago has, White may be on the chopping block come the deadline.
Another guy that might be unfair to call a disappointment, Williams’s season was underwhelming, to say the least. He only managed to play in five games with five starts averaging 25 minutes before suffering a wrist injury to end his season. In the few games he played, he was also recovering from an injury that kept him out during the preseason. Despite this, his numbers are still disappointing.
Williams averaged 6.6 points and only 2.3 rebounds a game. For someone that was expected to take a major leap in year two with major stars around him it never came together. He seemed extremely hesitant with the ball and didn’t help on the boards or in the rebounding department like he was needed. Now the Bulls are left with an even bigger hole to fill in the starting power forward spot which might lead to Williams also being another piece the Bulls look to ship off for a star.
Brown was never a guy I had huge expectations for going into the season but nevertheless, I did expect more than what I’ve seen. Looking at the roster and given his age, I thought he could make a huge leap heading into 2021-22 due to how wide-open the depth chart was at forward, especially on the bench.
This never really came to fruition though and there are a lot of guys ahead of him on the depth chart now it feels like. Brown has seen action in 16 games averaging 10.6 minutes and only 3.8 points on 43/33/64 splits and for a guy that I thought had a knack for scoring the ball, it just hasn’t come together. Guys like Derrick Jones Jr and Javonte Green can provide those numbers with astronomically better defense so that leaves Brown out of the rotation.
As far as overperforming players go there are so many obviously. Many critics projected the Bulls as a play-in team so as a whole they’ve outperformed their expectations. I could give love to so many guys here. I could obviously point out LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, who both find themselves as MVP dark horses, but everyone knows about them. I’m going to give love to the role-players here. The bench mob doesn’t get enough love and they’re the guys that have stepped up and given this team depth and the ability to stay competitive despite having four guys in covid protocol and numerous other injuries at times.
Caruso was one of the many additions to the Bulls this past summer. Signing a four-year, 37 million dollar deal the “Carushow” is starting to look like one of the steals of free agency. I like to look at him as the ultimate swiss army knife, as Caruso can play pretty much any position. The guy is a winner and it shows in how he plays doing all the dirty work that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet.
So far this season though, Caruso has seen action in 23 games with 6 starts averaging 8.5 points, 4.1 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and a league-leading 2.2 steals per game in 28.6 minutes. His shooting splits are pretty average but that’s not what he was signed for so that makes it okay due to the other ways he impacts the game and personally, Caruso has been one of my favorite players to watch this year.
Dosunmu has been my other favorite player to watch so far this season. The hometown kid was taken with the 38th pick in the 2021 draft and is looking like one of the steals of this year’s class. So far he’s seen action in 25 games and has started the last two due to everyone who’s out with Covid or just injured.
Dosunmu was extremely impressive in his first start against Denver on Monday night, leading the team in minutes and putting up super-efficient numbers. He’s currently averaging 6 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 17.2 minutes and those numbers are only going to go up due to a lot of his first few appearances being garbage time. He’s going to be an exciting guy to watch develop over time and I look forward to seeing him in the rising stars game during all-star weekend as well.
I was between Green and Derrick Jones Jr. on my last pick, as both have been extremely impressive and “overperforming” what was expected of them to this point by most fans. Looking back at the start of the year I would’ve more likely seen this output from Jones Jr. than Green so I gave him the nod although I decided to shoutout both. Javonte Green has been the guy that’s started at power forward in place of Patrick Williams most games and despite being undersized he has impressed me a lot.
He’s a guy whose athleticism and hustle make up for what he lacks in said size and it makes him an extremely fun player to watch. Green has seen action in 23 games making 12 starts averaging 20.6 minutes per game. His stats at 5.4 points and 4.3 rebounds don’t jump out at anyone but he does a lot that doesn’t come up in the stat sheet like Caruso but his dirty work helps the Bulls so much. He’s one of the four who is now in Covid protocol and Bulls fans should hope to have him back sooner rather than later to help what is a depleted roster at the moment.
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