Bulls Spark Plug Called Team’s ‘Weakest Link’

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The Chicago Bulls’ starting lineup has changed a lot during the 2021-22 season. COVID-19 and injuries have led to a ton of different looks.

Therefore, when assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the starters, it can be a little tricky determining where to begin. Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz honed in on Bulls spark plug Javonte Green in a recent article identifying each NBA team’s “weakest link” in their starting five.

Javonte Green Called the Bulls’ Weakest Link

“Green has largely been the Chicago Bulls’ starting power forward since [Patrick] Williams was sidelined following wrist surgery in October, but this is far from a settled unit,” Swartz admits.

“With Williams back, we could see him eventually establish himself as the opening 4 (or 3, depending on what you consider DeMar DeRozan), although Chicago has experimented with smaller lineups as well.”

Is it really fair to call out Green as the weakest link considering he’s only being pressed into action because of the team’s limited supply of legitimate power forward options? Nonetheless, the explanation for designating Green with the dubious distinction continued.

“Eventually, Williams should get the nod over Green, [Ayo] Dosunmu and anyone else because of his versatility, defense and ceiling after being selected No. 4 overall in 2020,” Swartz continued. “With Lonzo Ball still sidelined with a knee injury, we may not see Chicago’s original starting five (Ball, [Zach] LaVine, DeRozan, Williams, [Nikola] Vucevic) back together until the playoffs.”

Is Green Really the Bulls’ ‘Weakest Lisk?’

It is tough to determine who or what the Bulls are as we move closer to the postseason. They are just 5-11 in their last 16 games, and this dip has happened even as the team has welcomed Caruso and Williams back from injury. While Green is the obvious choice amongst the players who have started the most games for the Bulls this season, but there could be a case made for another more high-profile starter.

Vucevic is leading the Bulls in rebounding, blocks and steals (amongst guys who have played enough games to be eligible). However, he has also struggled on the defensive end of the floor. Vucevic is often a target in pick-and-rolls because of his slow feet, and it could be argued the team’s biggest struggles can be tied to that area of their game.

Vucevic has also struggled mightily with his outside shooting. Vucevic is shooting just 31.6% from three-point range. That’s the lowest percentage he has shot from long range since the 2017-18 season. The Bulls were hoping to lean on Vucevic’s abilities as a stretch big, but that concept has taken a hit because of the veteran center’s inability to knock down open jumpers consistently.

It is hard to call a player who has been an obvious contributor like Vucevic the weakest link, but he has certainly been the most disappointing, all things considered.

Green is averaging career-highs in multiple categories. As a major contributor, Green has scored 7.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, a steal per game while making 35.9% of his threes. Those numbers don’t do justice to the impact Green has made with the Bulls this season with his hustle plays and active body on both ends. He’s been a spark plug for Chicago.

If you’d have told someone before the season that Green would shoot a higher percentage from three than Vucevic, most would have called you crazy.

Yet, that is the reality. Green might be the weakest starter, but he’s been a bigger contributor than most anyone expected, and a bit of a Godsend considering the injury and depth issues Chicago has had all season.

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