Chicago Bulls: Goran Dragic could be the reason for a turnaround

Chicago Bulls, Goran Dragic (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls, Goran Dragic (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The day was December 18, 2022 and the Chicago Bulls had just been embarrassed by a Minnesota Timberwolves squad down both Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert.

The Wolves laid 150 points on Chicago in regulation, marking the first time the Bulls had given up that amount of points in 40 years. It was inexcusable. To say it was a humbling effort would be an understatement.

Following that loss, the Bulls had some lively conversations in the locker room. There was finger-pointing. There likely was a bit of animosity present.

But then, Goran Dragic spoke up.

“We’re not playing for each other,” Dragic said.

Those were the words that might have changed the outcome of this season for the Bulls.

Since Goran Dragic called out the Chicago Bulls’ realities, the team is 10-6

“So I think when Goran talked about we’re not playing for each other, you’ve got to pick yourself up off the mat because it’s a game that is imperfect. And you’re going to be making mistakes throughout 48 minutes. It’s about how you collectively respond to overcome what’s in front of you regardless of what is going on. The more we can play and care for each other, regardless of what you’re going through individually, that’s what can create the consistency we need,” head coach Billy Donovan said.

Donovan hit the nail on the head. The Bulls looked like a team that was far from living in the moment. Zach LaVine, especially, had gotten in his own head for the majority of the season leading up to that point.

You could tell he wasn’t mentally the same guy. But then, Dragic’s words rang through, and now the Bulls have had a winning record since that historical loss, and LaVine is playing much better basketball.

In LaVine’s last 10 games, he’s averaging just under 28 points per game with 5.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists and even 0.7 steals, showing more effort defensively.

As the current 10 seed in the East, the Bulls are far from out of it. There’s just a handful of games separating them and the four seeds above them. With half the season to go and it seeming more and more apparent that they’ll stay put at the trade deadline, the Bulls could make a late season push with this newfound life.

Should Chicago get into the playoffs, though, they’ll have an uphill battle against the Eastern elite. Granted, they have played well against the top teams in the East this year, so maybe we’ll see a different story from a season ago.

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