Bulls President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas was at the Bulls summer league game against the Raptors Tuesday with some concerning news. Point guard Lonzo Ball who is still reportedly nursing a knee injury isn’t where he needs to be healthwise.
Karnisovas did not give a vote of confidence when speaking to the NBA TV crew. He was almost dismissive when talking about the state of the point guard’s injury.
“He’s progressing.. That’s as much as I can say. He’s getting better, probably not at the speed we would like, but he’s getting better. Hopefully, he’s going to be ready for training camp.
Karnisovas kept adding that it was simply the hope of the team that Ball would be ready for training camp.
General Manager Marc Eversley spoke on Ball’s recovery on June 24 during media availability. Eversley had a different tune to Ball’s progress than his boss.
“He’s currently working out in LA. Still doing his rehab. We have sent our performance staff to see him every week and kinda track his progress. All reports are good. He’s making progress.”
There are quite a few factors to Ball’s return and how it meshes with the roster construction however now is the time to start hitting the panic button.
Guards On The Roster
Ball is clearly the best point guard on the roster given how well the team played when he was in the lineup last season. When he does have to take time away with injury there are definitely players that can fill in for the Bulls.
The first names that come to mind are Alex Caruso and Ayo Donsunmu. They both are more notably categorized as combo guards but are more than capable of running the point.
They filled in admirably for Ball last season after he went down to injury. There was more needed from the point guard position though from a playmaking standpoint. Both Caruso and Donsunmu only combined to average 7.3 assists while Ball averaged 5.1 assists in 35 games.
Ball is beginning to reach the point in his NBA career where he is unreliable in terms of availability due to health. The most games Ball has ever played in a season was 63 games back in 2019 with the Pelicans. To average missing 20 games or more is not a good sign for a team in desperate need of stability at point guard.
The Goran Dragic Experiment
The Bulls recently signed long-time veteran Goran Dragic to a one-year deal in hopes of adding point guard depth. This signing though is concerning for a number of reasons.
The first reason is the Bulls have plenty of guards already. As mentioned above, players such as Donsunmu and Caruso are able to take on some of the burdens of playing point guard. The Bulls still also have Coby White and recently drafted Dalen Terry with the 19th pick this year so the Dragic signing didn’t make much sense. That is unless there’s more not being said.
The other reason is that Dragic was promised 20-25 minutes per game by the Bulls’ front office. He was serviceable in his time in Brooklyn but he is well past his prime.
Newest Chicago Bulls point guard Goran Dragic told @spela_lenart that he talked to the Bulls last season before he signed with the Brooklyn Nets.
Goran also said he was pleasantly surprised by the way the Bulls played this past season. He expects to play 20-25 minutes per game.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) July 13, 2022
For a point guard at the age of 36 years old, that is too much. If it hasn’t been said already, now is the time to start panicking about Lonzo Ball.