By Richard Kagan
The Chicago Bulls recently lost by 30 points to the Utah Jazz before Thanksgiving. Now, they face arguably, the best team in the League in the Golden State Warriors in Oakland.
Don’t expect a close game.
Chicago is 3-13 and the losses are mounting. They play hard with the skill that they have but are often overmatched.
There is a song, “On a Clear Day, You Can See Forever” —and on a good day, the Bulls may beat you. But they have had few good days. Some of their good days were in losses in the first weeks of the season.
When rookie forward Lauri Markkanen is your team’s leader in scoring and rebounding, that’s a problem. He is showing potential and has talent. He has a terrific outside shot and when he is on, he is deadly. But teams know how to cover him and he is facing fierce NBA defense. In the long-term, this can only help him. He is going to be a very good player on the Bulls, unless they trade him.
Speaking of trades, Niko Mirotic, the forward who was punched in the face by Bobby Porter, is recovering but not practicing with the team and is practically AWOL at the Advocate Center, where the Bulls practice. He comes and does weights while the team is practicing. He has not reached out to Bobby Porter. Porter made his overture to Mirotic, but there has been silence on Mirotic’s end. John Paxson of the front office has stepped in but it does not appear that there may be a coming together of the estranged parties. Mirotic can be traded sometime in January and they way things are going, he might.
Hey, Happy Thanksgiving.
The Bulls can be grateful they have seen improved play from G Kris Dunn who has scored more and has moved the offense. If he can cut down on his turnovers it would help the team. Shooting guard Denzel Valentine has welcomed the challenge of starting at guard and he has hit some nice treys. Valentine is a worker and he seems to like the challenge of stepping up.
Bulls Nation is awaiting the return of Zach LaVine, the player with the background and pedigree (2 Slam Dunk Titles) to make some noise. We will finally see what the Bulls can do when LaVine returns which may be in a few weeks. Coach Fred Hoiberg is doing about as much as he can with the lack of real depth on the roster.
The Christmas season is upon us and if the Bulls are on sleigh, the ride will likely be a bumpy one.