Grading the Chicago Bulls heading into the All-Star break

The Chicago Bulls have been one of the league’s biggest disappointments this season. What grade do they deserve heading into the All-Star break?

Despite entering the 2019-20 season with sky-high hopes, the Chicago Bulls are entering the All-Star break with a discouraging 19-36 record. They’re an utter mess in every sense of the word.

Otto Porter Jr., the man who should be the second-best player on the team, has only played in nine games. Wendell Carter Jr., the Bulls’ most consistent player, hasn’t played in over a month thanks to an ankle injury. Lauri Markkanen has been battling some injury issues of his own, but even when he’s been on the court, he’s been achingly underwhelming. And Jim Boylen has been… incredibly on par with how you’d expect Jim Boylen to be (that’s not a great thing).

The only true bright spot for the Bulls this season? Zach LaVine.

LaVine is playing like the guy Bulls fans hoped he’d turn into. He’s averaging over 25 points per game on fairly efficient .448/.385/.824 shooting splits, and he’s not getting any help from the offensive system. Most of LaVine’s buckets are courtesy of him simply making a play; he’s not getting easy, open looks in the flow of the offense. He’s forced to create for himself night in and night out. I mean, who’s going to help him, Cristiano Felicio?

By the way, now seems like as good of a time as any to point out that Felicio has averaged nearly 23 minutes per game over the Bulls last six games — all losses. Back to LaVine.

I mean, check this out:

Normally, that’s just a simple heat check. You know, the kind of shot that you don’t expect to go in, but the guy kind of deserved to shoot it after knocking in a couple shots before that. Yes, that was a heat check for LaVine, but it wasn’t a bad shot. That’s actually good offense for this Bulls team. It was a higher percentage look than almost anything else the offense would’ve created — sadly.

It’s hard to give the Bulls anything but an F for how this season has gone. Outside of LaVine, the individuals have disappointed, and on a team level, well… the record speaks for itself.

But LaVine’s near All-Star season is worthy of giving the Bulls a slight boost above an F grade. If you don’t look at the score, he’s pretty fun to watch.

It’d be great if things turn around after the All-Star break, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Next: 3 reasons why the Bulls could make the playoffs

Grade: D-

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