Young Bulls show determination despite injuries
CHARLOTTE, USA – It was a tough night.
The Chicago Bulls had just lost their fourth game after getting their first win of the season two nights ago at their home court. Now, they're on a two-game road trip and the first game turned out to be an ugly loss.
Chicago shooting guard Zach LaVine decided to head out of the locker room.
He asked security personnel where the weight room was. He probably wanted to vent out his frustration. It was bad showing despite his output of 20 points, 3 rebounds and four assists. But he got two fouls early in the 1st quarter. He was being hounded by multiple defenders that he couldn't shake off.
It has been a struggle this early in the season for these young Bulls. They only have two wins (as of October 27) to show in the first two weeks of the season. And injuries are not helping the team.
In what looked to be a promising 2018-2019 season for this youthful and talented team, a monkey wrench has been thrown to their best-laid plans.
One of the Bulls' durable player last season, Bobby Portis, got hit by an MCL injury on his right knee. Portis, who is averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds, has been giving the team a fighting chance in the 4 games he had played in. And now, he joins the long list of Bulls players on the injury shelf.
Forward Denzel Valentine is dealing with a left ankle sprain, point guard Kris Dunn is down with a left MCL sprain and prized forward Lauri Markkannen has been out since preseason with a right elbow sprain.
But this is just part of the rebuilding process that the Bulls are undertaking since they traded Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves during the 2017 NBA Draft.
You would think head coach Fred Hoiberg just can't seem to catch a break. He's in Year 4 of his five-year coaching contract with the Bulls.
However, he looks at it the other way.
"We still got important young players that are going out there and getting a great opportunity, most specifically our two draft picks (Wendell Carter Jr & Chandler Hutchison),” he said during a pregame interview where Rappler was present.
"So even though we've got 4 of our top 7 players out, our young players, who will hopefully be part of the organization, are getting an opportunity to get out there and show what they can do."
"Zach has been terrific for us. He's shown that he can really handle the scoring load and he has not backed down at all even down the stretch, in the most important time of the game," Hoiberg added.
Hoiberg also heaped praises for Jabari Parker, who was signed in the offseason from the Milwaukee Bucks.
"Jabari continues to get better. I like his mentality. He's gone out there and attacked with the second unit. And he's finished most games for us."
Hoiberg is still assessing, though, if he will have Parker playing off the bench, considering that he was a starter in his 4-year, injury-riddled tenure with the Bucks.
"We'll have to evaluate it game by game. I just like the rhythm that Jabari is in right now. I like his role righ now scoring off the bench. I thought he was really good as a playmaker. He and Archie [sophomore Ryan Arcidiacono) have good chemistry going on out there on the floor together."
Hoiberg is working with whatever he's got right now. It seems they have responded.
The following night in a 97-85 win over the Atlanta Hawks, LaVine tallied 27 points and 11 rebounds. A bounce back game one might say. He also had better help this time from other teammates. Parker had 18 points and 8 rebounds. Rookie center Carter had his first double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Now, this young team heads home and prepare for the reigning two-time champion Golden State Warriors. – Rappler.com