The year is 2024. NBA teams are shooting threes at an unprecedented rate never seen before. The traditional big man is all but an extinct species in the league today. And yet, the Chicago Bulls are currently rolling out two big, plodding, poor-shooting centers at the same time.... and it's working.
For a franchise that infamously tried employing the 'Twin Towers' strategy to no avail with Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry in the early 2000s, saying this almost feels like blasphemy. But I've got to admit, watching Nikola Vucevic and Andre Drummond out on the court together has actually resulted in some very fun basketball.
While Drummond has been held to a relatively minimal role in games where Vucevic has been healthy, Chicago decided they'd experiment a little and roll both big men out against the Minnesota Timberwolves to match the frontcourt might of Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns.
This strategy yielded great results as both bigs joined the starting lineup, playing in excess of 35 minutes and combining for a jaw-dropping 40 points, 22 rebounds, and 8 blocks. This combination matched Minnesota's size perfectly and helped clog the driving lanes for Anthony Edwards, ultimately giving Chicago the edge as the Bulls emerged victorious over the NBA's top-seeded team in an intense 129-123 overtime battle.
The Bulls have pulled a page from the history books with their new strategy.
Granted, a great deal the Bulls climbed back from a 23-point deficit in the early third quarter was due to Coby White's second-half excellence. Although playing Drummond more down the stretch definitely helped, I figured Billy Donovan would chalk this up to nothing more than a miraculous shooting night from Coby.
To my surprise, Drummond would once again be given a chance to shine. Although he'd be moved back to the bench. Drummond would once again play over 30 minutes against the Grizzlies. This was particularly intriguing as Memphis is lacking in size and there was no need for Drummond to play more like he did against the Timberwolves.
Exploiting this mismatch ended up being very effective, as the duo once again dominated down low by combining for 41 points, 23 rebounds, and 3 blocks. The Bulls would best the Grizzlies 118-110 in another close contest, building a small 2-0 win streak while implementing their new strategy.
Chicago's next game will take place on Saturday against Orlando, a very important matchup for the Bulls as they are currently only three games back from the Magic in the standings. The Magic field a formidable frontcourt of their own with first-time All-Star Paolo Banchero and former Bull Wendell Carter Jr., so it will be very interesting to see if Chicago continues rolling out their new-look Twin Towers strategy.