Chicago has had a season full of eyebrow-raising moments, including the last two inexplicable losses to bottom-dwelling teams, but Donovan’s latest response may be the cherry on top. Following last night’s implosion in Charlotte, he was asked if he’d be meeting with the front office before the deadline approaches with any requests or concerns; here’s what he had to say.
Lightning In A Bottle
Donovan’s first response, when asked if the Bulls needed to make any roster adjustments at the deadline, was quietly what every fan knows but doesn’t want to admit, that Chicago caught “lightning in a bottle” last year with a similar depth chart.
“That season could have looked a whole lot different had DeMar not been so miraculous in a lot of different ways, Lonzo never returns, Ayo was a rookie.”Billy Donovan via Jump View on Youtube
There’s no denying that no one under the sun could have predicted the season that DeMar DeRozan had last year. Vying for the MVP award all season, leading the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring, a 48-hour period where he hit two buzzer-beaters, tying and breaking several records held by Michael Jordan, starting on the All-Star team, and a career-high in points was not envisioned when Chicago brought in the 32-year-old veteran wing. Lonzo Ball setting a new career-high in three-point percentage and being the perfect fit in the Windy City was not anticipated either. Holding the one-seed in the Eastern Conference for much of the first half of the 2021-22′ season was not a realistic expectation or goal for this team heading into last year, so he’s correct in his assessment.
Not Time To Jump Ship
He continued to talk of the current state of the roster, including the chemistry and inability to get on the same page as one another so far this season.
“I’m not at a point to say okay this just can’t work, I think there’s too much substance of guys that are good guys, that want to do the right things and care, but we’ve got to be able to do it. We don’t have a margin for error at all, we gotta be desperate.”Billy Donovan via Jump View on Youtube
Constantly bringing up this lack of ‘care’ and ‘effort’ from this roster time and time again this season, Donovan laid out the most significant difference between this year and last and why he doesn’t believe it’s a personnel issue.
“We can’t just lineup and everything is going to work itself out, wait for the fourth quarter and close it out. That happened a lot last year, it’s not happening this year. We’re gonna have to find different ways to win games, and come together to try to be able to do that.”Billy Donovan via Jump View on Youtube
Given that the Bulls’ point differential is actually slightly better this year than last, he’s correct in saying that their games are eerily alike last year’s except for the fourth quarter. 8-16 this year in games decided by five or less within five minutes to play; last year’s record in similarly clutch games was 25-16, making all the difference. Whether it is a matter of leadership on the court or from the coaching staff, something has shifted for the worse when Chicago’s trying to close out tight games.
Rumors Spreading Fast
Despite Donovan’s take on the upcoming trade deadline, rumors of two of his bench reserves have already surfaced since his comments. Alex Caruso was the first to come to light, with Senior NBA Reporter Jake Fischer saying that the Bulls expect two-first round picks in exchange for the defensive menace. Andre Drummond was next on the rumor mill, Marc Stein reporting that if he’s not traded for low-end capital, he’ll likely hit the buyout market.
If the Bulls’ head coach wants to keep this roster intact over the next few weeks, the answer is simple, win games. As any sports fan knows, winning cures all, and in Chicago’s case, it could cure the purge of a roster a piece or two away from championship contention. If they can hold fast through the rocky waters, get Lonzo Ball back from injury, and add bench three-point shooting, a first-round propelling into a deep playoff run is not out of the question. Do you agree with Donovan that the Bulls don’t need any changes, or should they start making splashes before it’s too late?