Bulls’ Jim Boylen not committing to shut down Zach LaVine, Otto Porter Jr.
There are still nine games left to play for the Chicago Bulls, which means Jim Boylen’s team has nine more unique opportunities to get better before the regular seasons ends. Despite a rash of injuries both minor and otherwise afflicting his team, Boylen, unsurprisingly, seems intent on maximizing the team’s opportunities to grow together.
Chicago’s coach said on Saturday that the team has no intention of shutting down either Zach LaVine or Otto Porter for the remainder of the season as both players deal with minor maladies. Why? “Competitive spirit,” for one, according to Boylen.
Jim Boylen’s full comments on why #Bulls won’t yet officially rule out Zach LaVine and Otto Porter Jr. for remainder of the season and embrace draft lottery positioning (though it should be noted team has acknowledged Porter is likely done for year) pic.twitter.com/QbPhUUKl0N
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) March 24, 2019
Zach LaVine remains bothered by a thigh bruise that caused him to miss the Bulls’ overtime victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday. He was initially listed as questionable for Saturday’s tilt with the Utah Jazz but was eventually ruled out before tipoff.
The 2018-19 season has been a topsy-turvy one for LaVine, who has never the less lived up to the four-year, $80 million deal Chicago gave him in free agency last summer. He’s even grow more comfortable with Jim Boylen, offering earlier this month to pay for his coach’s fine as the result of an ejection.
LaVine is averaging career-highs across the board of 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game with a solid overall field goal percentage of 46.7
Otto Porter Jr., meanwhile, hasn’t played since March 17th while recovering from a strained right rotator cuff.
A favorite of Boylen since being acquired by the Bulls in exchange for Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker at the trade deadline, Porter is averaging 17.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in 15 games with Chicago.