The Bulls are about to start a 5 game west coast road trip and will be without one key member. Bulls center Nikola Vucevic has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and will be away from the team as he recovers. The team was hoping they could get away without any issues after playing the 76ers last week who have had multiple positive cases. Unfortunately, that’s not the case and they will be without the teams starting big man.
Bulls officially list Nikola Vucevic as out, health and safety protocols, on their just-released injury report for Warriors game.
Vucevic, I'm told, will be sidelined at least 10 days.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) November 11, 2021
Vucevic will be out for at least 10 days which will have him missing the entire west coast road trip. If he can return exactly 10 days from today he will be able to return on the 21st when the team plays the New York Knicks at home. This is going to make things quite tough for the Bulls as they are headed off to play some tough competition on the west coast. For the Bulls to get through this stretch they will likely need to pull up someone from the Windy City Bulls to help at the center position.
It’s Marko and Tony’s time to shine
The Bulls are likely going to call up big man Marko Simonovic from the Windy City Bulls. Simonovic played for the team in the preseason and was then sent to the G League to get some meaningful minutes on the floor. Reports are saying the Bulls will likely bring him up to join the team on their road trip.
The Chicago Bulls have confirmed that center Nikola Vucevic is in the league's health and safety protocol. First reported by @KCJHoop.
I'm told that there is a good chance the Bulls call up Marko Simonović from the G-League.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) November 11, 2021
In Simonovic’s most recent G League game he scored 22 points and grabbed 10 boards. He played in two total games in the G League averaging 19.5 PPG & 8.5 RPG. His numbers have been great in the G League but it’s going to be hard to continue with that on this road trip. He will likely come off the bench for the Bulls with center Tony Bradley jumping in the starting position. Bradley is absolutely going to need to step up as the starter. He’s shown he can be successful in the past with other teams and we hope he can do that again here. Whether it be Simonovic or Bradley they are going to be up against some tough competition.
This road trip is going to be tough
The Bulls face off against some tough competition on the team’s west coast road trip. On top of the teams themselves being solid competition, the Bulls will meet some high-caliber centers. The centers the Bulls will face off against include Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, Ivica Zubac, and Jusuf Nurkic. That’s some tough competition for Tony Bradley and Marko Simonovic to handle.
This West Coast road trip just got a lot tougher. The #Bulls will match up against Anthony Davis, Ivica Zubac, Jusuf Nurkic, & Nikola Jokic. Not exactly a cake walk missing our starting center. Going to have to focus on exploiting those teams with small ball lineups.
— Conner Grant (@Connergrant31) November 11, 2021
The Bulls will need to put focus on their small-ball lineups. The team has had success with those lineups so far this season but having to primarily rely on that may be tough. Head coach Billy Donovan is going to have to get creative. He will need to work in Bradley and Simonovic (if he’s called up) at the right times. Considering the competition’s centers the Bulls may not be able to maintain the small ball lineup the entire game. Regardless this team is going to need to play even tougher if they want to get out of this road trip with a good record.
There’s no reason to doubt the Bulls
This article in no way is me doubting the Bull’s capabilities. The Bulls absolutely can come out of this road trip still on top of the Eastern Conference. Vucevic was in the process of coming out of a slump and the Bulls weren’t relying on him to be the bulk of the offense. This just means other players will need to step up in his place. We need to see some meaningful minutes from Tony Bradley. He needs to step up and make himself a force on the floor. Everyone for the Bulls needs to step up over the next five games.
We just need to hope that this isn’t going to spread around to other guys on the team. Thankfully the Bulls are fully vaccinated which lessens the chances of that happening. All we can do now is hope Vucevic gets back to good health and will be ready to play 10 days from now. The Bulls road trip must go on and the team needs to prepare themselves for some tough fought battles.