Are the Bulls a Contending Team? What’s the Problem?


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Bulls Big Three/Zach Lavine- left/Nikola Vucevic-middle/DeMar DeRozan

William Ortega, The Sterling writer

With playoffs in April, teams are trying to cash in as many wins as possible for a guaranteed spot in either the playoffs or the play-in. With unexpected teams being at the top of the standings, it’s difficult predicting how the regular season will look when all is said and done. The Bulls specifically have not met the expectations that fans had hoped for, considering how well the season went for them last season.  We’ll be looking at the Bulls and the problems that are holding them back from being a legitimate threat.

The Bulls have shown they are strong enough to compete with the top teams. With a record of 11-11 against teams .500 and above and an 8-1 record against the top Eastern Conference teams such as the Celtics, Bucks, Nets, and Heat, the Bulls are showing that they have resilience against the best. Unlike last season, top teams aren’t the problem for the Bulls this season, it’s the minor teams that are giving the Bulls a possible early ending to their season. So what’s going on?

A key piece missing for the Bulls is Lonzo Ball. It is obvious the Bulls are hurting with Lonzo’s absence and with only sudden bursts of hope of his return, it seems the Bulls will continue struggling if they don’t fix something. When Lonzo is playing the Bulls have a record of 22-13 compared to their record when he is not playing, 33-47. Statistics show Lonzo’s impact on both the offensive and defensive end. Last season, Ball attempted 7.4 shots per game on a career high 42.3%. This ranked him among top five in the NBA. His presence on the defensive end is also missed as he ranked second among guards who attained a steal percentage above 2.5% and a block percentage above 2.1%. Simply put, stats show that when Lonzo played, the Bulls won 63% compared to when he was out which was 50%.


With Ball being injured the Bulls’ defensive and offensive ratings have also dropped significantly more than expected. When watching the games this also seems to be caused by a lack of effort on both ends. The Bulls will find themselves having lousy passes, reckless shots, lazy defense, and needless turnovers. For the first 5 months of the 21-22 season, the Bulls were bouncing between the top three in the standings, currently 5 months into the 22-23, the Bulls are moving up and down between the 9th and 12th, battling for a spot in at least the play-in.

Overall, if the Bulls want another chance for a playoff run, they must play off each other like Ball did, incorporate everyone and play with effort. Their big three must come into every game with the hunger to win and motivate the rest of the team. Stop talking about the changes and perform them.