Nikola Vucevic Tweets Silver Lining to Bulls COVID Struggles

Nikola Vucevic

Getty Nikola Vucevic.

The Chicago Bulls are in the eye of a COVID-19 storm, but center Nikola Vucevic may have offered a silver lining to the current situation.

After the Bulls lost Zach LaVine and Troy Brown Jr. to the health and safety protocols list (making it nine Bulls gone due to testing positive for COVID), Vucevic took to Twitter on December 12 with his take on the situation:

“Well at least we’ll have herd immunity for the rest of the season…” 

Vucevic’s theory may have even more legs now considering Alize Johnson tested positive for COVID-19 since the veteran center’s tweet.

Vucevic wasn’t done with his light-hearted approach to the crisis. He tweeted a comical challenge to the Detroit Pistons, whom the Bulls are scheduled to play on Tuesday. “Hey @DetroitPistons How about a game of 3×3?” he wrote.

It’s official, the Bulls are in a state of disarray and it’s apparent, the NBA is the only entity that can save them. If the Bulls have eight players available, which they do – especially if Coby White can return – they could still play.

However, there is a legitimate concern about the competitive integrity of any contest involving the Bulls at this point with almost all of the team’s best players in health and safety protocols.

The Bulls’ Likely Starters for the Detroit Pistons

If the Bulls play the Pistons on December 14, as the roster is currently constructed – providing there are no more player absences – Chicago would likely start this group:

PG – Lonzo Ball

SG – Coby White (if he can return)

SF – Alex Caruso (if his hamstring holds up)

PF – Alfonzo McKinnie

C – Nikola Vucevic

The bench would be especially sparse with Tony Bradley, Marko Simonovic, Devon Dotson and Tyler Cook as the only available options.

That is the epitome of a skeleton crew, and it’s a group that could easily drop a game at home to the Pistons, who are currently the worst team in the NBA. Something about that just isn’t going to sit right with Bulls fans and even other neutral parties in the league.

Vucevic’s Struggles Are Real

Vucevic had a stint in health and safety protocols earlier this season. Vucevic went in on November 11 and he was out until November 24. This was well before White’s absence kicked off the current outbreak on December 2.

Vucevic is one of the few healthy players on the team with any history of success in the NBA. He’s been an All-Star during his career, though he hasn’t been playing like one as of late. Vucevic’s numbers across the board are down from his previous five seasons.

Since the 2018-19 season, Vucevic has averaged 21.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and he has converted on 37% of his shots from three-point range. During the 2021-22 campaign, Vucevic is averaging 15.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and making 34% of his threes.

His falloff was never more apparent than in the Bulls’ most recent loss to the Miami Heat. The Heat were playing without all-world center Bam Adebayo. Veteran journeyman Dewayne Dedmon started in his place.

Rather than feasting on a career backup, Vucevic was severely outplayed by Dedmon. The Heat center scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds compared to Vucevic’s 10 points and 8 rebounds. Considering how poorly Vucevic has played, a set of postponements and the extended break that would come with it might not be a bad thing for him or the team.

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