John Paxson made an appearance in front of the media before the Bulls’ ugly 114-83 loss against the Jazz on Saturday night, and it was to announce that rookies Wendell Carter Jr. (thumb) and Chandler Hutchison (toe) are officially done for the season. Neither rookie has played since January.
Hutchison said his fracture is about “75 percent healed” (wasn’t his initial timetable like a month?) and he should be good to go for Summer League. Denzel Valentine apparently may also be a Summer League candidate, which would be kind of weird, but that decision will be up to him.
Otto Porter Jr. may also be close to getting shut down with his shoulder injury (and other nagging things), with Paxson saying the forward “may run out of time” and “it’s trending” in the direction of a shutdown.
LaVine seems closer to a return, but he’s also dealing with multiple injuries (knee, thigh) and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to just shut him down as well with eight games left. Jim Boylen doesn’t want to do this yet because “competitive spirit” and “Bulls across their chest” reasons:
Jim Boylen’s full comments on why #Bulls won’t yet officially rule out Zach LaVine and Otto Porter Jr. for remainder of the season and embrace draft lottery positioning (though it should be noted team has acknowledged Porter is likely done for year) pic.twitter.com/QbPhUUKl0N— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) March 24, 2019
Oh, yeah, there was a game on Saturday night, and it’s one it sounds like Dunn shouldn’t have played in. Jimbo was sure proud of him, though:
Jim Boylen credited Kris Dunn (ailing back) for playing tonight as #Bulls were short-handed: "He had more kinesio tape on his back than a mummy."— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) March 24, 2019
Dunn was ineffective after one of his best games of the season against the Wizards, scoring four points on 1-of-8 shooting in 21 minutes. This effort on one of the first plays of the game was a sign of things to come:
He also got badly schooled by Ricky Rubio:
But to be fair to Dunn, he was injured, and the entire Bulls team mailed in this performance. They were down 15 after one quarter and 70-36 at halftime. It was never close and there were basically zero bright spots. Lauri Markkanen led the Bulls with a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, but he shot just 6-of-20 from the field.
But, uh, Cristiano Felicio reached double figures for a third straight game, so the Bulls had that going for them.
Meanwhile, the Jazz were clowning and stunting and celebrating all over the Bulls, with highlight-reel play after highlight-reel play. All five of their starters scored in double figures (seven players overall), with Rudy Gobert’s 21 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks leading the way.
The Bulls are now 21-53, and with the Hawks stunning the Sixers on a Trae Young buzzer-beater, the fourth-worst record is looking close to a lock. The Bulls are still only 1.5 games ahead of the Cavs, so the bottom three remains a possibility.