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Bulls notes on Caruso, Coby, Centers, and this brutal schedule

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New York Knicks v Chicago Bulls Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Some random Bulls thoughts that are not fully baked enough for their own post but certainly too good to waste on ‘Bulls Twitter’:

Alex Caruso’s on/off ratings will certainly get a bump after his one-game absence resulted in a huge margin of defeat against the Pacers.

But, man, imagine how more valuable Caruso would be if he could hit an open three-pointer? For his last six games, Caruso is 3-22 from distance, tanking his season percentage to a career-worst 28.6%

We don’t know yet if Caruso or Vucevic (or both) will be available tonight. They did both travel to Houston. Vuc has a logical spot back in the starting lineup with Tony Bradley retreating to backup duty. But will Caruso stay in with this 4-wing lineup around Vuc? I don’t see why not, it’s been very effective.

Rebounding has been a key factor with these smaller lineups winning games. Against the Lakers and Nuggets (who were undersized due to injury themselves) the Bulls were able to control the glass, but less so in losses to Denver and Indiana. It’s been stark: the game in Denver saw the Bulls with a 35.4% offensive rebound rate, against Indiana a paltry 9.4%.

- I was going to go down some rabbit hole with the theory that the Bulls are simply taking more shots than opponents, due to offensive rebounds and more significantly the turnover disparity. Alas, they’re 21st in the league with 88.6 shots per 100 possessions. The Raptors are first at 94.9, they lead the league in offensive rebound rate, 5th in not turning the ball over (Bulls at 8th) and league best at forcing turnovers (Bulls 4th)

- It’s possible that Bradley won’t be the backup center, and that role will instead go to Derrick Jones Jr.:

- So Coby White is back, but he’s been mostly terrible outside of a few key makes to secure the win over the Knicks, his lineups have been a significant negative in the other 4 games played.

It’s pretty much moot now with Caruso out, but I wonder if White’s recovery time would’ve been better served in the GLeague. It’s possible the Bulls were practicing, and I do think big-league practice time is more valuable than GLeague games. But overall Coby looked like he didn’t belong on an NBA court. Again, the time has passed now so whatever, but I never bought that White was ‘too good for the GLeague’ (and simultaneously too fragile where such a demotion would wreck his confidence?)

I do think it’s a genuine debate for rotation minutes between White, Ayo Dosunmu, and Troy Brown Jr., and it looks like AKME doesn’t gift minutes due to draft pedigree. Let’s instead look at their ages and recognize they are similar, and should be earning minutes based on performance:

White: 21 years, 281 days

Dosunmu: 21 years, 311 days

Brown: 22 years, 119 days

- This Bulls schedule, even with an easing up on opponent strength, still just seems brutal. They haven’t had 2 consecutive days of rest since between Sixers matchups on November 4th and 5th (also why I don’t think they had much practice time for Coby White).
I can’t find a quick reference to how it’s shaken out so far, but this page has a look at the overall schedule, and the Bulls rest over the course of the season is in alignment with other teams.

So yes, the back-to-back on Monday was bad, and there’s another one this weekend (at Orlando, home versus Heat). But this month the Bulls saw their opponent on the 2nd game of a back to back in the games versus the Nets, Clippers, Lakers, Nuggets, and Knicks. Overall this schedule shows 11 games where the Bulls will be the more rested team, versus 8 where they are at a rest deficit. This shit more or less evens out, is my point.