It’s not been an issue for the Chicago Bulls, but certain players’ vaccination status, or their unwillingness to disclose that information, has taken over NBA headlines.
New York City passed a mandate that will require all professional athletes of New York-based sports teams to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to perform in their home arena.
So, the Nets have decided to not allow Irving to participate with the team in any facet until his status changes.
This comes much to the chagrin of Bulls’ forward Troy Brown Jr., who took to Twitter in order to express such.
He reposted a tweet from Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) that listed all of Irving’s off-court contributions, with the caption: ‘They don’t talk about this enough…’
Troy Brown Jr., after being acquired at last year’s trade deadline, is hoping to carve out a role on this year’s Chicago Bulls roster, one with heavy playoff aspirations.
And if head coach Billy Donovan’s recent praise is any indicator, he may be in line for just that.
Donovan: ‘I’ve Got a Lot of Confidence in Troy’
Troy Brown Jr.’s arrival to the Chicago Bulls wasn’t at a necessarily convenient time for either him or the team.
Prioritizing a playoff push, head coach Billy Donovan left the 22-year old on the bench for the final 15 games.
But now, both sides seem committed to finding a role for Brown, and getting the most out of his versatile skillset.
Donovan and the fourth year forward (via NBC Sports) have established a specific role for him moving forward:
I feel like me and Coach (Donovan) have a good dynamic in the sense of me being like a Swiss Army Knife.Whatever he needs on the court, that’s what I go do — whether it’s playmaking, rebounding, playing defense, hitting 3s. I feel like that’s my job on the team, and I just try to accept that role and do it as best as I can.
Few comments from the Bulls’ head coach have held more weight than what he had to say of Brown moving forward:
I think he’s had a real good mental understanding of how he can take what he does well and inject it into complementing the other four guys. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Troy… I don’t think there’s any question that there’s an important role for Troy on this team.
Set to be an unrestricted free agent after this season, Troy Brown Jr. will need to come through on the role that’s been laid out for him.
And trust that Chicago Bulls fans will be watching this development closely, based on what the team gave up for the forward in that trade deadline deal back in March.
Gafford Rejuvenated in DC
Of all the narratives that emerged from the Chicago Bulls‘ rocky 2020-2021 campaign, none may have left a more sour taste in fans’ mouths than Daniel Gafford‘s rebirth in DC.
A second-round pick from the 2019 NBA Draft, he was sent to the Washington Wizards as a part of a three-team deal on the day of the trade deadline.
And since arriving to the Wizards, he’s taken on a major role on both ends of the ball and aided their run to the playoffs last season as the Bulls watched from home.
Gafford had fallen out of Chicago’s rotation almost completely by the time of last year’s trade deadline, having played in only 31 of their 43 games.
So, they traded the 23-year old to Washington, and the rest is history.
The former Bulls’ second-round pick finished the year averaging 10.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game.
Watch for Daniel Gafford to play another substantial role for the Washington Wizards this season.
And no, don’t expect the salt in this wound to sting any less anytime soon, Chicago Bulls fans.
But it would help if Troy Brown Jr. was able to find his way this season, and take lead as the team’s be-all, do-all.