Is Billy Donovan holding the Chicago Bulls back from their full potential?Michael Labellarteon May 25, 2022 at 12:00 pm

The Chicago Bulls finally made the playoffs for the first time since the 2016-2017 season with much credit to head coach Billy Donovan for getting the team there.

He has been part of the organizational turnaround that underwent after Jim Boylen, Gar Forman, and John Paxson were all let go. Donovan is a respected coach who has seen consistent success wherever he has been both in the NBA and NCAA.

While Donovan does deserve credit where it is due, this ending to the 2021-2022 season for the Chicago Bulls raised some questions as to whether he is the best fit for the team. There was a clear lack of adjustments made down the stretch and in the playoffs.

Donovan did a good job managing the midseason crisis with a COVID-19 outbreak and a plethora of injuries but late in the year, Donovan’s game-planning just could not get the best of better opponents.

The Chicago Bulls have had some ups and downs with Billy Donovan as head coach.

The road game against San Antonio was a great example of Donovan being outcoached. Yes, Greg Popovich is a Hall of Fame coach but they ran a simple pick and roll all game and forced the Bulls to stop it. The Bulls’ defense had no answer.

Donovan just was not able to change the game plan on the fly to adjust to what was happening in the game. That was the common theme all season long. Getting outcoached, especially against inferior teams, might have stunted the Bulls from reaching their full potential this season.

Donovan’s rotations were somewhat questionable during the season. There would be times when bench players were getting the team back into a game but he subbed them out in favor of putting the starters back in just because.

Also, he was not able to use his players to their strengths. The best example is Nikola Vucevic being used as a spot-up shooter for most of the season even though he is best on the block. The lack of pace in transition was also a concern for a team that is built to run.

Donovan was a great hire to take a young Bulls team to the next level. He was brought in here with core players of Zach Lavine, Coby White, Lauri Markkanen, and Wendell Carter Jr. A year later, that turned into Zach Lavine, Lonzo Ball, Nikola Vucevic, and Demar DeRozan.

While Donovan led the team to a playoff berth, the question is can he be the one to take this team to contender status. Obviously, he has outperformed expectations after he took a completely overhauled roster to the playoffs but improvements must be made next season or his job could potentially be on the line.

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