Bulls’ Nikola Vucevic Sounds Off on Beef With Patrick Beverley

Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls

Getty Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Chicago Bulls.

The NBA season is a grind the signs of which begin to show on the path to 82 games. Such was the case for the Chicago Bulls in their 117-115 win over the Detroit Pistons as center Nikola Vucevic got into a very animated discussion with new teammate Patrick Beverley.

“It’s the NBA. It happens almost every game. There are going to be disagreements,” Vucevic said per NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson. “In the moment, I thought he was right. He thought I was right. You look at the tape. I’m wrong. He’s wrong. We’re both wrong. I get caught up looking away in the moment. He gets beat. It happens.”

Vucevic called the exchange “no big deal” and said it got “blown way out of proportion” with social media taking hold almost immediately.

“It’s part of the game,” Vucevic said. “Nobody plays the game perfectly. We all make mistakes. Talk it out, own up to it and move on. It was over right after that. They shot the free throw and we moved on…

“People always make a big deal out of when players argue on the court. That’s part of the game. We’re competitors. We’re trying to make the right play. Sometimes you don’t agree on the same thing in the moment. Talk it out and it’s over with. We never talked about it after.”

Some feltVucevic was in the wrong.

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Vucevic has been less than thrilled with how some things have gone down in light of Beverley’s signing.

“According to a source close to the situation, Vucevic hasn’t been thrilled with some of the recent finger-pointing,” Cowley wrote adding “this wasn’t the first time he was unhappy with the tone directed at him and other teammates.”

To his credit, Beverley was openly brought in for his outspokenness which his teammates commended him for.

Guard Zach LaVine said it was an element the team had been missing since the 2021 season.

Cowley did note that the issue was not limited to just Beverley and Vucevic. He also suggested that it could have some impact on the pending free agent’s outlook. If it is worse than Vucevic is letting on, that is.

Nikola Vucevic Defends His Defense

“I know some stuff on defense is not the strongest part of my game,” Vuevic told Johnson. “But there is some stuff I do really well defensively. I always try to do my best at that end. It’s something I’ve very aware of. I know what my limitations are on the floor and I try to stick to my strengths.”

Former teammate Goran Dragic ripped Vucevic’s critics citing the immense sacrifice it took to go from being the primary option to the third one, not to mention not getting the desired results from an individual or team perspective.

Defensively, Vucevic can often be the victim of poor defense being played in front of him where guards are allowed to blow right by their primary defender.

LaVine and DeMar DeRozan are both in the bottom 10 on the team in defensive efficiency differential, per Cleaning The Glass. In the play in question, Beverley found himself being left by his assignment leaving Vucevic in a precarious situation.

Vucevic did admit he got caught not paying attention to the ball.

Up Next for the Bulls

Chicago got the win but, having blown a 23-point lead in the process, they would surely love nothing more than to put forth a better effort in their next outing. Unfortunately for them, that will have to come against the Phoenix Suns who were already formidable and now have a healthy Kevin Durant in the mix.

Suns star Devin Booker already dropped 51 points on the Bulls in a 132-113 Suns win on November 30 and Durant scored 44 points in a 121-112 loss while still with the Brooklyn Nets on January 4.

Sitting 11th and 1.5 games out of the Play-In Tournament, the Bulls could certainly use a win.

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