3 biggest culprits for Bulls’ inability to beat NBA’s top teams

Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Coby White, Javonte Green, Troy Brown Jr., Chicago Bulls 2022 NBA trade deadline rumors
Coby White, Javonte Green, Troy Brown Jr., Chicago Bulls Rumors (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Despite starting the season on top of the Eastern Conference, the Bulls find themselves spiraling down the standings and unable to beat elite teams.

The Chicago Bulls have been awful against the best teams in the NBA. Early in the year, injuries, scheduling misfortune, and officiating was the blame for their losses to teams with respectable records. Now, Chicago faithful are scratching their heads trying to figure out why the Bulls can’t hang with quality teams.

Injuries are a factor. The Bulls have been without their starting point guard and defensive stopper Lonzo Ball for much of the second half of the season. They are just getting back their six man, Alex Caruso, and starting forward Patrick Williams.

But the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors have battled injuries and still find ways to win, and they’ve both swept the Bulls.

While the Bulls have had their run in with calls not going their way — in their recent loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, DeMar DeRozan didn’t get a free throw attempt — every team out there can speak to bad officiating, including the Brooklyn Nets and James Harden during the first half of the year.

The truth of the matter is that some of the scapegoats we’re about to mention add onto the deficiencies the Bulls have repeated each time they’ve stepped on the court to play a quality team.

3. Role Player Production

The Bulls’ role players have been MIA against just about every team, but the issue is extremely glaring against quality teams. Against Milwaukee the bench was out-scored by 16 points and are 29th in the NBA in scoring.

The Bulls are in the midst of a terrible stretch, losing 10 of their last 12 games. The start of the stretch featured the Memphis Grizzlies breaking what is being dubbed the “Bulls Blueprint.” The scheme is to bait the Bulls’ stars into traps and forcing them to kick it out to the supporting cast.

That began a five-game losing streak for Chicago, and in that stretch there wasn’t a single role player that scored in the double digits.

The Bulls’ main role player guards shoot a combine 38% from three, with Coby White shooting the highest at 52%. Despite that, they’re averaging a 12.4% usage rating, meaning they’re involved in the offense less than 15% of the time.

The answer to this problem is simple: role players have to start getting buckets, or at least be presented with the opportunity to do so. How to execute this problem may be more difficult. Tristan Thompson says it starts with trust. Billy Donovan said that it starts with him.

Either way, whoever it starts with needs to fix it.