Bulls: Midseason Review

Elijah John, Staff Writer

We have officially reached the midpoint of the NBA season and what a comeback year it has been for the Chicago Bulls! They rode a nine-game winning streak to rise to first in the Eastern Conference. DeMar DeRozan will almost certainly be a starter in the All-Star game, leading Eastern Conference guards in votes by a substantial margin, while Zach LaVine has a solid chance, sitting at 3rd place. 

DeRozan made NBA history by becoming the first player to hit buzzer-beating game-winners on consecutive days. On New Year’s Eve, he drained a three-pointer off one leg to lift the Bulls over the Indiana Pacers. Then, on New Year’s Day, he rattled in a contested corner three-pointer to defeat the Washington Wizards. The acquisition of DeRozan, which was heavily criticized by NBA experts, is now looking like one of the best moves of the offseason. 

Unfortunately, as of late, the Bulls have lost their momentum and are struggling. They’ve been blown out in four of their last six games. Three of those losses were on national television against the NBA’s top teams. As a result, NBA analysts are now doubting whether the Bulls are an actual contender. Others say that the Bulls need to trade for a talented forward like Detroit’s Jerami Grant or Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes. 

To make matters worse, the Bulls are dealing with a decent amount of injuries now, which makes it even harder for the front office to evaluate the team. Of course, Patrick Williams is still recovering from wrist surgery. Defensive stopper Alex Caruso has been out since mid-December, nursing a hamstring injury and then contracting COVID-19. Athletic forwards Javonte Green, Derrick Jones Jr., and Tyler Cook have also suffered in-game injuries and have missed several weeks. Most recently, both Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine have suffered knee injuries and will miss a few games. 

So what’s the move for President of Basketball Operations, Arturas Karnisovas? Does he wait for everyone to return and hope the Bulls have enough to win the title? Or does he bolster the team by trading for a more impactful player, likely giving up intriguing prospect Patrick Williams in the process? Neither option seems appealing. However, Karnisovas turned the Bulls into a playoff team in a year. Clearly, he knows what he’s doing. Thus, fans must put their trust in him.