Despite their continual slide out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, there’s still a continued optimism surrounding the Chicago Bulls and their immediate future.
That largely stems from their having two All-Stars in house in Nikola Vucevic and Zach LaVine.
But the two weren’t enough to secure a fourth-straight win on Tuesday night, with the Bulls falling to the Brooklyn Nets 115-107. Chicago has three games left to play this season.
Durant Sounds Off
After the Brooklyn Nets put down the Chicago Bulls 115-107 on Tuesday night, Kevin Durant spoke with reporters (via NBC Sports) about the state of the opposing team, set to build around Nikola Vucevic and Zach LaVine.
The 11-time All-Star is bullish about their immediate future:
Having Vučević come midseason, those guys trying to figure out who they are in such a fast pace, you know, the last 20 games of the season. So I feel like they’re going to figure it out even more going into next season. But they have a lot of talent, a lot of different guys that can do a variety of things. But Zach and Vooch and Coby (White) I feel like are the key pieces to this team — and Patrick Williams.
LaVine was the sole bright spot in Tuesday’s loss to Brooklyn. He went off for 41 points on 15-of-27 shooting, while the aforementioned trio of Vucevic/Williams/White combined for just 33 points on 13-of-37 shooting.
Durant’s got a recent history praising the Bulls. Fans will no doubt remember that he talked highly of the team back in mid-April when taking part in a Spaces chat on Twitter.
But he took it a step further on Tuesday night, going as far as to call himself “a fan” of Chicago’s team. Durant cited his past with Billy Donovan as a part of his confidence in the Bulls:
Obviously, being coached by (head coach) Billy (Donovan) and his staff, a few of those guys on his staff, I know exactly how those guys are approaching every day as a unit. And you can just see it out on the floor.
The two-time champion also worked under assistant coaches Mo Cheeks and Josh Longstaff in Oklahoma City as well. So fans should take his praise of Chicago’s program for what it’s worth, to say the least.
Chicago a Free Agent Destination?
Comments like Kevin Durant’s should instill optimism into the Chicago Bulls’ fan base.
As the rest of the league starts noticing the team’s transition from bottom-dwellers of the Eastern Conference into an actual competitive club, it’ll bode well for their chances at landing another star.
Veteran wing Garrett Temple was just telling reporters (via NBC Sports) the same thing this past weekend:
I think people that understand and are free agents and things of that nature, are probably looking at the Bulls front office as a place, a group of people that know what they’re doing for sure.
It may not happen this offseason, but don’t doubt the Bulls’ front office will keep strong in their efforts to pair a third All-Star caliber talent with LaVine and Vucevic.
As more players like Durant and Temple turn vocal about the culture in the Windy City, it seems all but inevitable.
Updated Bulls Playoff Odds
After their latest loss to the Brooklyn Nets, the Chicago Bulls drop to 28-40.
That’s good for the 11th seed in the Eastern Conference, and three games back of the 10th seed Washington Wizards.
Five Thirty Eight has the Bulls’ playoff chances at less than one percent.
Elsewhere, Tankathon.com has Chicago’s remaining schedule as the ninth most difficult in the entire NBA.
Action Network gives them just a 2.2 percent chance to land in the 10th seed, and punch their ticket to playoffs, and an 88 percent chance to finish 11th.
So the odds are stacked against the Chicago Bulls, who are 5-5 in their last 10.
Three games to go.
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