This is not a part of the Bulls schedule that offers up many breathers.
So when the worst team in the Eastern Conference comes up on a Sunday night, better believe it’s a matchup that needs to be taken advantage of.
The visiting Bulls did just that, and in impressive fashion, ending a heart-breaking two-game losing streak in beating the Detroit Pistons 100-86 at the Little Caesars Arena.
The Bulls bench was impressive, led by a career-high 11 rebounds from Daniel Gafford, and three starters scored in double figures for a unit that did a solid job handcuffing the Pistons offense most of the game.
“That’s what the NBA is all about,” veteran guard Tomas Satoransky said of the bounce-back performance. “That’s an advantage and disadvantage of this league, you can kind of forget about a bad game because you have another one in one day or two days.”
However, now this week gets really interesting for the 19-22 Bulls.
Yes, there’s games with Utah and Cleveland leading into the week, but with the Thursday trade deadline looming and the East so wide open, there’s growing anticipation that the Bulls could at least make a serious push toward being a buyer rather than a seller.
Does that mean acquiring a point guard like Lonzo Ball, who the Sun-Times reported was in the team’s crosshairs as far back as 2019? There was a report that the Bulls had already offered a second-round pick and Satoransky to New Orleans for Ball, but a source said that executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas knows an offer like that wouldn’t get it done so wouldn’t have wasted time putting it out there.
Especially since there were multiple reports that indicated even if New Orleans was to move from Ball, they would want at least a first-round pick or a young rising player in return.
Could the Bulls trade a Lauri Markkanen straight-up for Ball? Considering both were unable to come to an agreement in December on contract extensions, it makes sense on the surface. However, the Pelicans have a nice collection of starting forwards, so there really wouldn’t be an ideal fit in adding Markkanen.
The fit for Ball and the Bulls? Much different.
Yes, Satoransky was once again solid as the starting point guard, scoring eight point, handing out nine assists, and playing really solid defense against Detroit.
But Donovan also kept Coby White’s minutes at that spot limited after a rough first half, instead leaning on Ryan Arcidiacono for time there. It worked well against the cellar-dwelling Pistons, but is point-guard-by-committee good enough to punch a postseason ticket?
Donovan was asked after the win.
“Obviously I think having Sato as a veteran guy so to speak has been a positive,” Donovan said. “I think the biggest thing with it for us is we’ve got to get settled and we can’t turn the ball over, but we’re going to have to do it by committee. And I think of any position, Arturas is always going to look at how he can continue to help the group, how can he help them get better? I like our guys, they work hard, they’re unselfish, they’re coachable, they want to do the right things, they want to get better, but there’s no question there’s times where we’ve struggled back there at that position.”
When it was pointed out to Donovan that quarterback-by-committee usually means a football team doesn’t have a reliable No. 1 guy, and does that also carry over to point guard-by-committee, he did offer up a quick laugh and an explanation.
“I know it’s been by committee,” Donovan said. “But it’s kind of like how do we play off each other?”
Against the Pistons? Well. But will that be enough?