As we get further into the Bulls 2020-21 season it’s starting to feel similar to last season in terms of injuries. Throughout the majority of last season, the Bulls were playing shorthanded, with key starters being out. Well, this year we are seeing the same situation play out. The injuries began with starting center Wendell Carter Jr. He was injured on January 18th and hasn’t seen the floor since. On January 26th the news came out that he would be re-evaluated in four weeks. The injury bug has hit another Bulls starter and he will also be out for an extended period of time.
Bulls announce Lauri Markkanen will miss 2-4 weeks with right shoulder sprain. Had MRI after getting back to Chicago
— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) February 8, 2021
Bulls starting forward Lauri Markkanen has only been active in 14 games this season and now he’s going to miss another 2-4 weeks.
This will be tough for this team
This is going to hurt the Bulls in their current state. Markkanen was out for 7 games earlier in the season due to the league’s health and safety protocols. During that stretch, the team went 3-4. They had the majority of their starters during that stretch of games. Now the team will be guaranteed to be playing without two starters for at least the next 2 weeks. This will be tough for the Bulls to get through as Markannen is the second-highest scorer on the team. In the team’s previous game without Markkanen, they went with an interesting starting lineup.
Denzel enters the starting lineup.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) February 6, 2021
The Bulls decided to go with the three-guard lineup and have forward Patrick Williams jump into Markkanen’s spot. The lineup worked out well for them with the starting five producing 90 points. However, they were playing the Orlando Magic. We will have to see how this lineup stacks up against a high caliber opponent.
The Bulls schedule over the next two weeks
The Bulls have 8 games over the next 14 days. Of those games, they will be facing 4 teams that are in the top 8 of their conference and two other teams that fall within the top 10 of their conference.
If head coach Billy Donovan is going to continue with this lineup they will have to produce as they did against the Magic to have a chance to win. It’s going to be tough for this team as they lose a bit of depth coming off the bench. However, it appears that Donovan wants to keep his veteran players coming off the bench instead of inserting them into the starting lineup. The Bulls may be in a good position with Markkanen’s replacement as Patrick Williams had his best game of the season in his first start at power forward.
Patrick Williams making his mark
Patrick Williams didn’t lose a step jumping into Markkanen’s spot against the Magic. In fact, he recorded his first double-double that night.
Patrick Williams on Friday: Career-high 20 points
Patrick Williams on Saturday: First career double-double (16pts, 10reb)
The rookie is giving Bulls fans A LOT to be excited about.
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) February 7, 2021
Williams scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in that game. He looked good jumping in at the power forward position. Williams played PF at Florida St and he looks like he fits the bill in the NBA as well. He will need to continue playing well over the next two weeks for the Bulls to have a chance with two starters out. The bigger issue comes at the center position.
The Bulls have no answers at center
Center Daniel Gafford has been filling in for Carter Jr. and things haven’t been going too well. He has barely been producing anything offensively and his defense is nothing to speak of. Gafford himself even touched on his recent play.
Daniel Gafford: “I’ve been playing, excuse my language, shi**y.”
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) February 8, 2021
Earlier in the season Gafford looked great and people were even pushing for him to start over Carter Jr. Well he’s been starting in his place and it’s been ugly. The Bulls don’t seem to have any good answers when it comes to the backup center and it’s hurting them. Now with another injury to deal with, they need to see production from Gafford.
These injuries have been far too common for the Bulls over the last few seasons. Fans are frustrated as they haven’t been able to see what this team can do. Hopefully, this squad can keep them in the playoff race as players try to get healthy. This could get ugly quickly if anyone else goes down. Let’s see who is going to step up for this team and make their mark with all of these injuries.