There were plenty of opinions floating around on Thursday of how to fix the Bulls.
The problem was most involved blasting caps, a plunger box, well-placed explosives, and were illegal in all 50 states.
More importantly, they just weren’t realistic.
With 67 games left on the schedule, turning the Advocate Center into a demolition site this soon definitely falls under the category of early-season overreaction.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t in-house tweaks that should at least be explored when the Bulls tip-off at the United Center against Orlando on Friday.
1. Starting in glue – The current starting lineup just isn’t working. Later in games, maybe, but not to start games. Too many slow starts and too big of holes to dig out of.
Entering Thursday, the Bulls ranked 22nd in the league in first-quarter scoring with 27.7 points per game, and in the last three games – all losses – they were putting up just 23.3 points per game.
Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, Patrick Williams, and Ayo Dosunmu just aren’t functioning well together.
Look at the total plus-minus of all five of them.
LaVine has the best mark with a minus-18, and most of that has come with coach Billy Donovan staggering LaVine with the second unit.
DeRozan is a minus-51, Vucevic a minus-52, Williams is at minus-88, while Dosunmu is a team-worst minus-92.
Donovan isn’t benching any of his “Big Three,” so that means either Williams or Dosunmu – or possibly both – need to be bumped to the bench.
So who moves into the starting lineup? That’s where it gets tricky and falls back on executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and the roster he built.
Veteran Goran Dragic has the best plus-minus on the team (plus-66), but is statistically the worst defender. Alex Caruso and Javonte Green are the two best defenders, but then makes that starting group very small.
For Donovan to fix one thing it hurts somewhere else.
The most logical move would be go with Green as the starter over Williams just because of the energy he seems to bring to the rest of his teammates. Tom Thibodeau used to use Keith Bogans as an igniter with that 2010-11 Bulls team, and Green might do the same. At this point it’s about function, not talent.
2. All eyes on Ayo – Dosunmu is in a tough spot, admittedly dealing with opposing teams now game-planning for him on a nightly basis, and struggling in adjusting to the adjustments.
Simply starting Dragic would hurt a defense that is already shaky, as well as put heavier minutes on the 36-year-old veteran.
Donovan has shown that he’ll close games with Dragic lately, however, and that has to continue.
Dosunmu’s been a great story since he was drafted in the second round in 2021, but until he starts getting a better grasp of the moment, he needs to sit late.
It doesn’t hurt that Dragic was shooting 44.4% from three-point range in the fourth quarter this season, while Dosunmu was just 1-of-9 (11.1%).
3. Don’t wait until February – The Bulls have arguably had one of the tougher schedules to start the season, and are still without Lonzo Ball (left knee).
It’s too early to start making phone calls around the league and making a big splash, but hopefully Karnisovas & Co. aren’t still holding onto this idea of “continuity” being the way forward.
Ball’s return is still very vague, and even if he returns sooner than later, his presence doesn’t fix everything.
Front offices far too often fall in love with their own rosters until it’s too late. If Karnisovas does that and the trade deadline comes and goes without a major move, he’ll find out how much that love hurts.