Fifteen games into the 2022-23 season, it doesn’t seem like the Chicago Bulls can buy a win right now. After a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, who were without Zion Williamson, the Bulls have fallen to a 6-9 record and are scuffling.
For a season that started with high expectations and dreams of a deep playoff run, the Chicago Bulls’ play on the court has left a lot to be desired. Going into this season, it seemed as if many fans conveniently shoved the Bulls’ struggles at the end of the 2021-22 season aside, chalking the poor record in the last half of the season to injuries. It’s certainly true that injuries to Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso greatly affected the team’s defense during the second half of the season, but it also helped provide a convenient excuse for the Bulls’ lackluster performances in the playoffs.
However, the team had a full summer to game plan around not having Lonzo Ball in the lineup. LaVine’s knee management issues haven’t helped, but it’s not like the brass was unaware that LaVine had a balky knee. It’s left DeMar Derozan pretty much on an island this season, as much of the pressure to be the primary scorer and push the Bulls into the win column has fallen on his shoulders.
The Chicago Bulls continue to scuffle offensively and struggle to win games. Can DeRozan get some offensive help from his teammates?
Win Shares is an advanced metric that attempts to attribute how many wins a player adds (or costs) to their team’s season total. It provides a way to measure a player’s contribution and includes game, season and league-wide data in its calculations. If we want to argue about who’s the greatest basketball player of all time… Michael Jordan is the leader in Win Shares per 48 minutes.
But we’re not here to argue about who the greatest basketball player of all time is. What we want to know is which Chicago Bulls player has contributed the most wins to the team in the 2021-22 season and so far in this campaign.
It should come as no surprise that DeMar DeRozan led the Bulls in Win Shares last season with 8.8, three wins ahead of Zach LaVine, who contributed 5.8 wins. Nikola Vucevic was third last season, with 4.5 Win Shares, followed by Javonte Green at 4.4. Vucevic is not your classic defensive center, so while Green isn’t going to put up as many points as Vucevic will, he still adds value based on his defense while also playing fewer minutes.
This season, DeRozan has 1.7 Win Shares, the only Bulls player currently above 1. He’s once again carrying the team, accounting for almost a third of the Bulls’ wins so far this season. The Bulls need to turn around their season and do it fast, before teams like the 76ers and the Heat wake up and get their act together. Some more help for DeRozan would be a good start.