1 early concern for Chicago Bulls in 2021-22 NBA season
The Chicago Bulls are out to a 4-0 start for the first time in 25 years, so the vibes are mostly good in The Windy City. Zach LaVine’s thumb injury is a bummer, but the hope is he’ll be able to play through it and continue to play at a high level.
There are some other concerns for Chicago, though. The Bulls’ crunch-time offense is clearly a work in progress, as evidenced by the near-collapse against the Toronto Raptors on Monday night. Part of that debacle was Nikola Vucevic, who has had a very uneven start to the season overall after a rather sluggish preseason.
Vucevic is shooting under 40% from the field and just 21.4% from 3-point range through four games. While his playmaking has been solid and his defense has been better than expected, especially in terms of forcing turnovers, the Bulls are counting on him to be a 20/10 guy who can stretch the field from deep. He shot 40% from 3-point range last season on over six attempts per game, but his percentage and attempts are way down to start this season.
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Chicago gave up a lot for Vucevic last season, and he just turned 31 years old. Is there reason to worry about him? Ricky O’Donnell addressed this situation on the latest episode of Blue Wire’s Cash Considerations pod:
“Vooch, pretty slow start … Vooch is the guy they gave up the most for. I thought it was a little bit of an overpay at the time. He’s 31, they’ve got him for this year and next year and then he expires. … He’s been a rebounding monster. I think he’s been more impressive defensively than offensively, which I can’t believe I’m saying. He can’t make a 3 to save his life on offense. He’s missing a ton of little bunnies. Vucevic has been such a good offensive player throughout his career that you’ve got to feel like he’s going to snap out of this and he’s going to be a consistently great offensive producer.
“Right now, Vooch is struggling and Vooch has got to get it together. I don’t want to totally overreact to four games, but these are four games against trash teams. I feel like it would have been nice to see him get off to a hotter start.”
The sample size is very small thus far, so Vucevic could easily turn things around and get back to his typical numbers. However, this will be a situation worth monitoring as the season goes on.
Listen to the full Cash Considerations episode here: