The Chicago Bulls have a serious dilemma on their hands. The team learned on Thursday, November 11 starting center Nikola Vucevic tested positive for COVID-19. Vucevic, who is believed to be full vaccinated, is still expected to mss multiple games.
There is obvious concern and hope that Vucevic gets through this without serious health complications while he goes through the NBA’s health and safety protocols. From a basketball standpoint, the Bulls who are already thin in the frontcourt have to consider making a move as they head out west on an important and tough road trip.
Chicago already called up rookie center Marko Simonovic, but most don’t believe he’s ready to contribute on an NBA level just yet. Chicago is expected to start young veteran Tony Bradley and they also have the smallish, but active Alize Johnson. Beyond that, the Bulls have Simonovic who doesn’t appear to be an option they’d be in a hurry to tap into.
Chicago Bulls Talk had a suggestion that might actually add the sort of depth Chicago could get used to at the center position. The Twitter account suggested the Bulls sign former All-Star DeMarcus Cousins.
Cousins spent time last season with the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers averaging 8.9 points, 6.4 rebounds in 17 minutes of action per game. He appeared in a total of 41 games last year and is currently a free agent. Would Cousins sign with the Bulls as a temporary replacement with an option to stick for the remainder of the season?
It’s not a bad idea. The Bulls wouldn’t need Cousins to be any better than he was last season, and he could still play a significant role as big-bodied, high basketball I.Q. big man who has the ability to shoot from distance. He made just under 35% of his threes last season. He’s dealth with a ton of injuries, but Cousins is still only 31 years old.
Where Will Nikola Vucevic Be Missed the Most?
While Vucevic has struggled a bit with his shot this season, he’s been a consistent rebounder and passer who has also had some active hands on defense. The Bulls don’t have anyone else on the roster with Vucevic’s size, shooting touch and post presence.
Against a team like the Golden State Warriors, whom Chicago will see on Friday night, Vucevic could have been in a position to shine.
As it is, the Bulls will have to turn to Bradley in hopes of getting the same kind of production on the glass and perhaps more rim protection on defense.
The Bulls Can Still Beat the Warriors Without Nikola Vucevic
The Bulls will struggle all season against teams who have a dominant big man. The Warriors don’t have a player like that as they start the undersized Kevon Looney at center.
Bradley could have a strong game and more importantly, Golden State doesn’t have a post player who can take advantage of Chicago in the post.
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