Bulls rookie Wendell Carter Jr. hasn’t had the best start to his NBA career, but with the injury bug striking in Chicago, the 19-year-old big man may get more opportunities on the floor.
Just a couple weeks into the Bulls 2018-19 season, the team is 2-4 and plagued with injuries. Lauri Markkanen injured his elbow in late September, and is still expected to miss another 2-4 weeks. Any betting fan would say 4 weeks is more likely, given how important he is to the organization. Denzel Valentine is once again fighting a bad ankle. Kris Dunn played just one game before spraining his MCL with an estimated 4-6 week recovery ahead. Most recently, Bobby Portis injured his knee in a matchup against the Hornets and is also expected miss 4-6 weeks. All terrible news. But the injuries to Lauri and Bobby should provide more opportunities for Carter to showcase his talent.
Every NBA rookie has their “welcome to the league” moment, and Carter’s lasted for a whole week. Carter had a slow start, averaging just 6.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in 24.8 minutes over his first four games. However, the matchups he faced in his first week in the NBA were far from easy. He’s already tangled against elite big men such as Joel Embiid, Andre Drummond, and DeAndre Jordan. Yes, he’s the 7th overall pick, but no one should expect a teenager to be able to put up his summer league numbers against All-Star centers in his first week.
Many Bulls players will feel the need to impress not just the coaching staff, but the people who doubted them. Both Jabari Parker and Zach LaVine are trying overcome their ACL injuries and prove they are worth the money the team gave them. Portis was ready to break out as a potential 6th Man of the Year candidate before his injury. Dunn wants to silence the people who questioned his work ethic back in the summer. Cameron Payne, Antonio Blakeney, Ryan Arcidiacono, and other young Bulls are competing for minutes in Fred Hoiberg’s crowded backcourt rotation.
The bench players know that the team lacks a solidified rotation. Whenever they step onto the floor, they’re looking to showcase their abilities. Playing alongside players like this makes it easy for a reserved and humble player like Carter to hide in the shadows. Ever since the Bulls drafted Carter in June, he has made it clear that he wants to win. Sometimes you have to question whether these Bulls players are playing to win or for a spot in the rotation. The Bulls’ recent injuries give Carter the chance he needs to establish himself as a respected force in this league and a staple of this roster.
However, Carter must take some of the blame. There’s no doubt that his lackluster numbers are at least partially a result of his poor play. He’s shooting 40.9% from the field and has struggled from the free throw line, making six of ten attempts through his first 6 games. It’s a small sample size, but it’s obvious that the confidence and aggressive mentality he played with in the summer league isn’t there. His more passive style of play could be a result of players like LaVine and Parker wanting to get their touches, but eventually Carter will have to play like the player we drafted him to be.
The Bulls didn’t intend on drafting a role-playing big man, and they were lucky to have Carter fall in their lap. Hopefully the silver lining to these multiple injuries is Carter seizing the opportunity he needs to be successful in the NBA.
Bulls acquire Otto Porter Jr. for Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker
In what came as an unexpected deadline move, the Bulls acquire a former 3rd overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft Otto Porter Jr. from Washington for Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis.
Locked On Bulls is back with a fresh episode, the guys are back to cover the biggest story surrounding the Chicago Bulls ahead of today’s NBA Trade Deadline. The Bulls trade Jabari Parker, Bobby Portis, and a 2023 2nd round pick to the Washington Wizards for Otto Porter Jr.
The guys discuss the initial reaction from Bulls fans and the shock that hit about acquiring Porter. What does it mean for the Bulls rebuild and their plans for free agency in 2019 and 2020? The guys discuss Otto Porter Jr.’s career so far in the NBA and why the Bulls would be willing to take on his remaining 2-years, 56-million dollar contract. The guys debate the pros and cons of this deal and some of the upsides to Porter’s game. Does Locked On Bulls hate the deal, love the deal, or sit somewhere in between?
What does the loss of Bobby Portis mean for the Bulls? The guys discuss Portis’ time with the Bulls, why he was ultimately dealt, what his feelings might be, and what his value is going to be in restricted free agency this summer. Should the Bulls have been able to get a draft pick in addition to taking on Otto Porter Jr.’s money? The guys discuss the possibility and whether the Bulls had all the leverage or not. The guys also talk about the Jabari Parker experiment coming to an end. How will the front office be able to explain how it went? Will Parker be successful with the Wizards and beyond this season? All of this and so much more on Locked On Bulls.
Give your reaction to the Bulls acquiring Otto Porter Jr. at Locked On Bulls text and voicemail line at (331)-979-1369 or on Twitter @LockedOnBulls.
Bulls Trade Deadline Countdown: Lakers check in on Jabari Parker
According to ESPN Insider Brian Windhorst, the Los Angeles Lakers could be looking to move Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in a non-Anthony Davis deal before the trade deadline. Enter the Bulls and Jabari Parker.
Locked On Bulls is back with a fresh episode, the guys start the show talking about the Bulls only real news of the Trade Deadline Week coming from ESPN Insider Brian Windhorst who said the Los Angeles Lakers may have interest in Jabari Parker.
Windhorst said on The Hoop Collective podcast this week that the Lakers have not discussed any deals for Anthony Davis that have included guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Enter the Chicago Bulls. Windhorst has said that he is not guaranteeing a deal being done by Thursday’s deadline but would not be surprised if Jabari Parker was on the Lakers in the next few days. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Jazz checked in about Parker’s services (no word if this was recent, they did check in back in late December).
The guys also talk about Windhorst’s quote “Bulls really like Caldwell-Pope” and whether or not they buy that or if it was just an assist to the Lakers, LeBron James, and Rich Paul. Locked On Bulls talks through a few trade scenarios, why this deal would only be done if Caldwell-Pope approves of a trade, and why Chicago would more than likely buy him out in any deal.
Locked On Bulls day two of talking about the NBA Trade Deadline includes what the Bulls trade scenarios should look like from Jordan, Matt, and Bulls listeners. Should the Bulls take a look at some of the wings available in Phoenix? What’s the real value of Bobby Portis and Kris Dunn together? What can they bring you separately?
Jordan has a three-way deal including the Bulls, Grizzlies, and Jazz. Bulls listeners ask about a possible backcourt break up of McCollum and Lillard (deadline and offseason) and if there is any interest in Frank Ntilikina. Finally, would you trade the Bulls core players for Anthony Davis (minus Lauri Markkanen) and trade him this summer for a new young core? The guys discuss all of these topics and so much more on Locked On Bulls.
Bulls have plenty to think about with the NBA trade deadline looming
Will the Bulls find value on the trade market for Bobby Portis? Are they actually going to trade for a veteran point guard? Are the Bulls just going to stand pat? NBA Trade Deadline week is here!
Locked On Bulls is back with a fresh episode, the guys split the episode between breaking down the weekend’s action against the Charlotte Hornets and kicking off all the rumors flying around leading up to this week’s NBA Trade Deadline.
Bobby Portis for a second consecutive game put on a show for the Chicago Bulls, have we finally turned a corner on seeing a completely healthy and confident Portis from a year ago? Or is Portis’ string of two games simply a mirage mixed with middling Eastern Conference teams and lack of Bulls offense? The guys discuss his monster first half and how the Bulls lack of adjustments in the second half led to another loss late in the fourth quarter.
The Charlotte Hornets scored 74 points in the second half and outscored the Bulls from the three-point line 33-to-9 to fight their way to a win. The guys discuss how the Bulls had one of their best performances getting to the free throw line this season but the Hornets were matching every move made. Locked On Bulls talks about the real concern about Jim Boylen’s philosophy against shooting threes and the Bulls lack of three-point shooting talent.
As the NBA Trade Deadline approaches on Thursday (3 p.m. E.T.), Locked On Bulls begins some of their discussions about possible trade scenarios the Bulls might be involved in. The guys highlight the small, but laughable cash considerations move they made on Friday which included a salary dump from Oklahoma City. The guys discuss what Bobby Portis’ value is on the trade market, whether or not the Bulls will seriously consider dealing him, and where he fits best. The guys also circle back to the Bulls interest last week in Ricky Rubio and how there are too many layers to make it all fit right for the Bulls to nab him. All of this and so much more on Locked On Bulls.
Send the guys your Bulls Trade Deadline deals at (331)-979-1369 or on Twitter @LockedOnBulls.
- What will year two bring for Wendell Carter Jr.? April 3, 2019
- Bulls inch closer to a pivotal off-season, who will stick around? April 1, 2019
- Bulls crawling to the finish line as injuries, losses pile up March 27, 2019
- How does Zach LaVine compare to other Most Improved Player candidates? March 26, 2019
- Bulls fall flat in loss to the Jazz and March Madness recap March 25, 2019
What will year two bring for Wendell Carter Jr.?
On today's Locked On Bulls podcast, one of their conversations centered around Wendell Carter Jr.'s second year with the Bulls....
Bulls inch closer to a pivotal off-season, who will stick around?
Locked On Bulls is back from the weekend and the guys have a handful of conversations that surround the off-season...
Bulls crawling to the finish line as injuries, losses pile up
Locked On Bulls Podcast recaps last night's loss to the Toronto Raptors, talks about Lauri Markkanen leaving the game in...
How does Zach LaVine compare to other Most Improved Player candidates?
Returning in his first full season since ACL surgery, Zach LaVine has put together an impressive season for the Bulls....
Bulls fall flat in loss to the Jazz and March Madness recap
Locked On Bulls podcast recaps an ugly loss to the Utah Jazz, highlights some of the best performances from NBA...