Thoughts at the 1/3 point of the season

We’re just about 1/3 of the way through the season and the Bulls are a mess. It’s no longer a small sample size. It’s safe to conclude that this team is average at best without Lonzo. So here are some thoughts I have about the current state of things:

  • It’s time to move on from Vuc: It was a trade I fully supported and still think was worth a shot, but it clearly failed. A center who doesn’t defend just isn’t a good mix with LaVine and DeRozan. And his inconsistent three-point shooting has dropped him a tick below all-star caliber. He’s simply a good player. And 32 year old good players on expiring contracts have no purpose on mediocre teams. It’s time to trade him. Take whatever you can get for him. Keeping him simply because you don’t want the negative publicity that comes from admitting the trade was a failure and then letting him walk in the offseason would be a real Gar Forman move.
  • We’re slowly inching towards a "Zach or DeMar" decision: I’m a fan of both of these guys so I hate to admit it, but it’s starting to look like they can’t coexist without a guy like Lonzo running the offense. Zach’s ability to catch and shoot should provide the ability for them to coexist, but Zach views himself as more than that kind of player. And the way he views himself doesn’t mix with DeMar. I think AK is eventually going to have to trade one of them. On paper, keeping Zach is the obvious answer. He’s younger, more athletic, can shoot behind the arc, and just signed a huge new contract. But his flaws are much more glaring than DeMar’s. And DeRozan has a game that is aging well. He also has a positive tangible impact on the young guys. I guess my point is that it’s not an obvious choice, but it’s one that AK might have to make.
  • Pat has serious potential: The development process has been slow, but these past six weeks have provided real flashes of who Pat can be. He has legit size, an ability to bring the ball up the court, good defensive potential, a respectable midrange game, and a very real ability to consistently knock down threes. His development does need to speed up, though. A handful of good games a month isn’t going to cut it much longer. This is another major reason why Vuc should be traded. Pat just doesn’t currently have the personality required to demand the ball, so AK is going to have to make a trade to free up opportunities for him to shoot more.
  • Terry needs to become at least a small part of this rotation: Currently, we’ve only seen Dalen during garbage times minutes of blowouts. This would be understandable if this was a contending team. But it’s not. This is a team that needs to play substantially better for the entire remainder of the season just to get the 10th seed….and even that’s not happening. This is a 36 win team. And 36 win teams should not be wasting the rookie season of a first-round pick. Giving Caruso and Dragic a combined 50 minutes per game isn’t going to magically transform us into a playoff threat. Take just a few minutes away from both of them and give them to Dalen. What’s the worst that can happen? We miss the play-in tournament and give our lottery pick to the Magic? That’s already happening!
  • Donovan would be a good coach for a rebuild: It’s ironic that Donovan appears to want no part of coaching a rebuilding team, because that’s what I think he’d be the best at. His best traits are that he’s player friendly and lets his team play to their strengths. That’s perfect for young guys. If AK tears this thing down, Donovan can coach the young roster for the next few years, and then he can be replaced when it’s time to start consistently winning games.

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