The Chicago Bulls have maintained the top seed in the eastern conference for much of this season but since the all-star break, the Bulls have begun to slow down quite a bit.
The Bulls still maintain a solid record of 39-25. That currently has them at the 4th spot in the east. The eastern conference has been very competitive this season compared to recent years. A short winning streak or losing streak can drastically change a team’s position in the current standings.
The Bulls’ current losing streak sits at four games. These four games have been against some of the top teams in the league, including the Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies, and Milwaukee Bucks. There have been a lot of question marks surrounding the Bulls lately. Especially about their ability to compete with these heavyweight contenders around the league.
#Bulls are now 2-14 against teams that currently have a .600 winning percentage or better.
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) March 5, 2022
With 18 games left in the regular season, is it time for Bulls fans to hit the panic button? Not quite.
By the time the playoffs come around, the Bulls’ roster should look very different. The Bulls did not make any moves at the trade deadline because of the reinforcements they have coming back from injury. Patrick Williams, Alex Caruso, and Lonzo ball are all expected back in the lineup by mid to late March. Although none of these players are bonafide superstars, their presence will drastically change how the Bulls perform.
The injury to Patrick Williams occurred at the very beginning of the season. He was able to play in the first five games before his wrist injury forced him to be sidelined for 4-6 months. In those 4 games, the Bulls were able to achieve 4-0 record. What the 20-year old will bring to the lineup has yet to be seen. This season was meant to be hugely important to his development. Now the inexperienced Williams will have to find a way to contribute to this deep roster as it heads into the highly competitive eastern conference playoffs.
Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso coming back should be a huge spark to this Bulls team. Their energy on the defensive end has an immeasurable impact on games. When healthy, these two guards can arguably be considered among the top defensive guards in the league.
Bulls Record When Caruso/Ball Playing:
Bulls Record When Caruso/Lonzo Aren't Playing:
Bulls Record When Patrick Williams/Lonzo Ball/Patrick Williams Playing:
— Chicago Bulls Talk (@BullsSource) March 6, 2022
It’s clear that the Bulls are a much better team when Ball and Caruso are on the floor. Their presence greatly changes the way the Bulls are able to perform as a team. With Ball averaging 1.8 steals per game and Caruso with 1.9, the Bulls have a much easier time setting the tone defensively and getting fastbreak points. This can make all the difference in tight games like the Bulls’ loss to Milwaukee on Friday night.
Before getting injured, Alex Caruso had emerged as what appears to be a defensive captain of sorts. Teammates have praised not only his defensive skills but his communication as well.
DeMar DeRozan on Alex Caruso's communication: "AC is like that one college professor who's always preaching a thesis or something."
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 20, 2022
Here's new guy Alex Caruso stepping up to improve the Bulls' communication on help rotations (keep calls short & simple). pic.twitter.com/8Po1cy1iXt
— Steph Noh (@StephNoh) October 15, 2021
Maybe I’m optimistic, but this losing streak along with the poor performances against the top teams isn’t enough for me to start looking towards next season. Yes, every team has injury setbacks but the Bulls are a completely different team when their defensive specialists are available.
LONZO FULL-COURT LASER.
SHOWTIME IN CHICAGO 🤯🤯🤯 pic.twitter.com/C8ViDSoMXG
— NBA (@NBA) November 11, 2021
Hit the panic button if you want, but the Bulls still have a lot of fight left.
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