The Bulls went 2 – 2 this week. Losing to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, splitting a pair of games with the Charlotte Hornets, and finishing the week with a win against the Atlanta Hawks.
The Bulls first win of the season came on Wednesday in a last second thriller against the Charlotte Hornets. Cameron Payne went from goat to G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) with a stellar shooting display from beyond the 3 point arc. He hit 7 three pointers in the game and made a lot of haters existentialists. Wednesday’s game was also the night that Bobby Portis sprained his MCL. Portis will have to rest and rehab for the next 4 – 6 weeks.
Continuing his hot start to the season, Zach LaVine became the only Bull besides Michael Jordan with four straight 30+ point games. His streak came to a close on Friday night when the Hornets exacted revenge for their loss to the Bulls earlier in the week. LaVine was held to just 20 points in the game, but he didn’t really play in the 4th quarter, it was already a blow out and the Bulls had to face the Atlanta Hawks the very next day.
Wendell Carter Jr. is still playing like a rookie, though there have been some definite signs of improvement. You can tell from his facial expressions that he is getting frustrated with himself when he makes those rookie mistakes. He has been missing shots in the paint and occasionally turning the ball over, and every now and then he makes a mistake on defense. On the positive side, he did record his first double-double against the Hawks (10 points, 10 rebounds), and he has been blocking shots with a bit more regularity (2 blocks in the win against Charlotte, 3 in the loss, and another 2 blocks in the win against the Hawks).
Chandler Hutchison has taken over the starting Power Forward position with Bobby Portis sidelined for the next month or so. Coach Hoiberg likes what Jabari Parker has been bringing the Bulls 2nd unit on offense and has decided to keep him coming off the bench. This has opened the door for Hutch to show the world what he’s got as a starter. So far, it’s been a mixed bag. He has definitely made an impact on the defensive end of the court by grabbing rebounds and forcing turnovers. He’s also shown flashes of greatness in transition, but has unfortunately missed as many dunks as he’s made, and, like a lot of rookies around the league, has found himself in early foul trouble.
Rawle Alkins has been practicing with the Windy City Bulls who are poised to start their season this week. I’m a little disappointed that he hasn’t gotten more playing time with the NBA squad, but the way the injury bug has been decimating the Bulls, it might only be a matter of time before they need to call him up.
Bobby Portis suffered a sprained MCL (just like Kris Dunn) and will probably be out of the lineup until December. He joins Lauri Markkanen, Denzel Valentine, and Kris Dunn as a part of the walking wounded brigade.
The Bulls waived veteran center Omer Asik and signed former Phoenix Sun point guard Shaquille Harrison hoping to add some depth to the position while Dunn is injured.
MVP of the Week: Zach LaVine (2)
Zach’s 30+ point streak was pretty impressive, and he was instrumental in both of the Bulls wins this week. With Dunn out, Hoiberg has been using LaVine as a lead ball handler. This development has led to some bad turnovers from LaVine, but even his poor decision making isn’t enough to overshadow his scoring. Special consideration needs to go to Cameron Payne for his three point outburst on Wednesday, and Ryan Arcidiacono for his very nice performance in the Bulls win against the Hawks on Saturday. I seriously thought about giving the MVP to both of them this week, which is something I never thought would happen.
Stat of the Week: 1.49 Assists per Turnover
The Bulls are averaging nearly 1 and a half assists for every turnover they have. That’s not a great number. They rank 21st in the NBA. The San Antonio Spurs have the best ratio of assists per turnover with 2.25, and the Brooklyn Nets are the worst in the league with 1.29. We’ll have to check in on this stat later in the season to see if the Bulls are doing a better job of passing.