This week in the bulls: only Covid can stop the bulls
Around the same time last week, the Bulls were second in the Eastern Conference and continued their schedule despite having five players in health and safety protocol. The number of players in protocol doubled this week and the Bulls became the first team in the league to postpone games for a Covid outbreak.
Ten players with positive tests. Ten! Covid even dismissed an advertiser (Stacey King), and the acting announcer (Bill Wennington). Stanley Johnson signed on Thursday via hardship exemption and was in protocol on Saturday before playing a game.
Fortunately, the NBA made the right choice to postpone Tuesday’s game against the Pistons and Thursday’s game against the Raptors, but it still felt like a shit week. I’ll let Zach take the first word here.
Please note the date on this tweet. This is from April 2020 aka the last season aka the first time Zach tested positive for Covid. While regular nerds like us feel embarrassed that they can’t watch the Bulls this week, imagine how Zach must be feeling.
A year ago, our guy had never won four games in a row before. He has since won an Olympic gold medal (earning a somewhat surprising place in the squad), saw the Bulls bolster the roster around him with veteran signings, left his agency to join Klutch Sports in anticipation of a maximum contract extension, and then sees the Bulls rise to the top of the East.
Now he’s back in protocol with the rest of his teammates wondering when the heck this team will be okay.
The thing is, this shit sucks for everyone. It has been an extremely difficult week reading the news and keeping in touch with friends. Two of my close friends in Chicago have tested positive. My mate in New York has it. My cousin’s two children under five both have it. My uncle in his 60s had it (and luckily deleted it). All of these people have been cautious since the start of the pandemic, but damn it’s 21 months and at this point contracting the virus seems almost inevitable.
If you felt like you were mentally cracking this week I don’t blame you and can understand more than a little bit.
A few days ago I published an article urging the NBA to take a break for the 10 days leading up to Christmas. The league was never going to do that, of course. The main focus of this season has always seemed to be to get the schedule back on track, which sounds great until you realize the pandemic is still here. The alternative is to let the Bulls pass the virus to who they play (the Nets and Knicks both had outbreaks this week) and let these teams transmit the virus to whom they play.
As always, I’m always more concerned with the ordinary people with whom these players interact on a daily basis – family, friends, team employees, stadium employees – who are not young people in very good physical shape.
How far is the league prepared to go to go in the 82 games? Vooch has an idea.
There is nothing funny about a pandemic that has killed over five million people worldwide, but we are long past the point where humor has become a defense mechanism after so much depressing crap. .
Let’s get the vibe going.
Jasmine pulls better than DeRozan in the clutch. Plus, the jersey patch is what really attracts me to this one.
Not Cuppy Coffee !!!
Let’s put a Knicks joke here.
It’s more like that.
I’m afraid we’ll look at this week as a pivotal moment, regardless of how this season the Bulls ends. If the Bulls pick up where they left off and continue to win, the story will be that they overcame an epidemic to continue this enchanted campaign. If someone’s individual play goes significantly out of protocol, we’ll say Covid has ruined the season.
The pandemic was always going to be a huge variable this year, and the Bulls have now been hit harder than any team in the league. Everything is (still) zero. Thank you for taking care of yourself and your people.
Bulls protocol update
Here is the latest news on protocol players.
Billy Donovan’s Bulls protocol summary today:
• Coby / Javonte outside the protocols, going through an acceleration of cardiac screening / conditioning. Coby further than Javonte
• DeMar / Thomas are “day to day to find out more”
• Zach / Ayo / Alize / TBJ probably absent until after Christmas
– Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) December 16, 2021
Dude, it’s gonna take a while before the whole team is back. [/In my best ‘this shit sucks’ voice] This shit sucks.
Meanwhile, the next game on the schedule is at home against the Lakers on Sunday. The Lakers have their own outbreak right now with five players in protocol since yesterday. Fortunately, the NBA made the right choice and… postponed the game for a few hours.
Is this game actually played? There is a clear motivation from a league point of view to keep the schedule moving. We will see.
DeMar and Zach are money in the clutch
One of the big stories this season has been how great DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine have been in the fourth quarter.
I know that. You know that. Anyone who pays attention knows that. It’s always nice to see the numbers confirm it (via Synergie Sports).
Lonzo and AC are the Zach and DeMar of defense
/ Voice of Tony Allen: “FIRST TEAM ALL-DEFENSE. “
From this LEBRON database page, you can also see our current estimates of All-Star teams and All-Defense teams based on impact so far.
For example, here is our currently calculated 1st All-Defense team:
G: Lonzo ball
G: Alex Caruso
F: Draymond Green
F: Evan Mobley
C: Rudy Gobert https://t.co/RTBfR0gIkl
– BBall Index (@The_BBall_Index) December 14, 2021
I really need Caruso to bring this classic back.
Let’s end with a little positivity
make the third year of Covid the best yet !!
– Miles Klee (@MilesKlee) December 7, 2021
I don’t know if the latter had the desired effect.
Stay safe, everyone.