Bulls

Bulls’ Early Vacations No More With Vučević

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The trade deadline has come and went, and the NBA’s first blockbuster sends two-time All-Star Nikola Vučević and Al-Farouq Aminu to the Chicago Bulls for Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr., and two first-round picks.

What Does Vučević Bring Chicago?

Nikola Vučević is regarded as one of the best centers in the league. The 30-year-old is averaging 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. Undergoing a career year, Vučević also gives the Bulls the ability to stretch the floor, shooting 40.6% from three.

An underrated aspect of Vučević’s game is his passing. While on the court, the Magic’s assist percentage went up 9.2% compared to him off the floor. A great post passer, Vuč provides the Bulls with an elite big, who has the ability to kick the ball out to shooters.

Artūras Karnišovas has been vocal about the players he looks for in building a roster, and Vučević goes along with that vision. A multi-dimensional big who can score and pass is exactly what the Bulls have lacked.

The defensive end of the court is where Vučević struggles the most. Opponent offensive rating increases 7.3 points when Vučević was on the floor for the Magic. Though 6’11, Vučević doesn’t block many shots, as he’s only averaging 0.6 per game this season.

New Bulls’ Duo

The best part of the trade may be the Bulls finally choosing a direction to move with their roster. The addition of Vučević signals the Bulls plans on moving forward with Zach LaVine as a main piece of their core, with a long-term extension in sight.

The pair together can be one of the league’s best offensively, especially in the pick-and-roll game. Vučević gives LaVine the piece next to him that he has long been waiting for, and someone who can take the load off Zach every night.

As it stands now, LaVine and Vučević average a combined 52.6 points per game, which is the most of any two players on the same team in the league.

Exciting Times Ahead

If anything, it is encouraging to see the Bulls making moves that benefit them in the present and future. The deal for Vučević makes the Bulls relevant again in the Eastern Conference, with serious eyes on competing as soon as next year.

Winning mode is back in Chicago, with tanking for draft picks in the rear-view mirror. It is time to see major development out of the younger players who will be on the roster for years to come.

As for Karnišovas, his first major trade with the Bulls seems to be a good one. It is now his job to find pieces that complement Zach and Nikola, and help them push their way to the top of the East in the not-so-distant future.

Follow us on Twitter @BullsLead for the latest Bulls news and insight. 

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About Tim Houlihan

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