A Chicago Bulls insider, K.C. Johnson from NBC Sports, offers insights into why the team’s highly touted “Big 3” comprising Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic fails to maximize its potential over several seasons. Despite the trio’s collective talent, the Bulls find themselves perennially stuck in the middle of the pack, struggling to secure a playoff berth. Johnson identifies key factors contributing to their underwhelming performance.
One critical issue lies in the absence of a clear hierarchy within the team. Successful NBA teams typically have a designated leader who guides the squad to victory, even if multiple stars coexist. Unlike the Denver Nuggets with Nikola Jokic or the Boston Celtics with Jayson Tatum, the Bulls lack a player stepping up as the unequivocal leader.
According to Johnson, LaVine, DeRozan, and Vucevic have individually acknowledged this problem, with instances where each player seems overly deferential to the others.
Another impediment is the team’s tendency towards isolation plays. While Bulls coach Billy Donovan envisions a style emphasizing quick ball movement and open plays, the reality often sees the “Big 3” relying on isolation-oriented tactics.
Donovan’s preferred strategy involves dynamic ball and player movement, creating situations where two defenders engage the ball before swinging it to an open player for a shot. However, LaVine and DeRozan, possessing the ability to create their own shots, sometimes defer until feeling the need to establish a rhythm, resulting in isolation habits taking precedence.
In essence, the Bulls’ struggles stem from a lack of a defined pecking order among the “Big 3” and a deviation from the desired fluid, team-oriented style towards isolation plays. Addressing these issues could unlock the full potential of the talented trio and elevate the Chicago Bulls to a more competitive standing in the NBA.