Bulls Urged to Avoid Trap with Valuable New Addition

Andre Drummond, Chicago Bulls

Getty Andre Drummond #4 of the Brooklyn Nets walks off the court.

There is a time and a place for everything. That can be true for people too. New Chicago Bulls center Andre Drummond remains one of, if not the best rebounders in the NBA today. But he too has a very specific time and place on the basketball court.

Drummond got a rise out of a few people with his claims of being the best rebounder in NBA history when his career wraps up.

He joins the Bulls in a backup role for which he is best suited.

But there is even more nuance needed when handling the two-time All-Star that some argue is beyond the capacity of head coach Bill Donovan. It’s a glaring weakness on the part of both Donovan and Drummond that could wind up costing the Bulls more trouble than Drummond is worth despite his budget contract.

Drummond is a Regular Season Player

Since both players entered the league, Drummond’s defensive rating is identical to Rudy Gobert’s, per Basketball-Reference. Gobert’s offensive rating is much higher. But that is to be expected for a player making $170 million over the next four seasons.

The Bulls signed Drummond to a two-year, $6.6 million pact to “complement” what starter Nikola Vucevic does on offense.

But in the postseason, it’s a different story.

Drummond ranks among the 10 worst players in playoff LEBRON – Basketball Index’s catch-all metric – over the last five years. His defensive rating does too and is just one point better than former Bulls big Tristan Thompson who also sported an offensive rating 35 points higher.

Despite Drummond almost certainly helping the Bulls raise their 28th-ranked effort on the glass in the regular season.

But even the Nets realized he should play less in the postseason as they were getting swept.

Billy Donovan Possibly the Bigger Issue

Drummond not being able to play in the playoffs is one thing. But if Bulls head coach Billy Donovan doesn’t make the necessary adjustment, then it won’t matter if the Bulls are otherwise capable of getting the job done.

That is not always the case with Donovan.

Donovan’s lack of adjustments was a point of contention as the Bulls slid down the stretch of last season.

There is an argument that he was limited by the pieces available to him.

But Bulls legend Scottie Pippen openly questioned what value the head coach would bring when Donovan was hired. Pippen said he did not think Donovan did anything “special” to warrant another head coaching position.

Donovan did guide them to the playoffs for the first time in five years last season. But, with just one year left on his contract after this one, this season is likely to have significant ramifications.

Bulls Heading for Crossroads

Donovan isn’t the only one with contractual uncertainty. The Bulls have just four players under contract for 2024-25 and three of them are either options or non-guaranteed. They are only committed to Zach LaVine long-term.

That alone adds another level of intrigue to this coming season.

Add in that the Bulls’ quiet offseason and Donovan is arguably the third most important piece to it being viewed as a success behind improved player health and development.

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