The Chicago Bulls officially fell out of playoff contention on Saturday when they lost to the Brooklyn Nets. Zach LaVine didn’t play in the game and hope was pretty much gone for most Bulls fans when that news came to light. Today, the Bulls hosted their player exit press conferences. It seems they’re already eager to get back to work.
Next season is still far in the future, however, so let’s focus on what each key member of the Bulls had to say during their respective media sessions on Monday.
When reflecting on the 2020-21 campaign, head coach Billy Donovan was disappointed the Bulls didn’t make the postseason. This is the first time in Donovan’s NBA coaching career that he has missed the playoffs. In an interview after the Bulls win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday, Donovan pointed out that it was hard to overcome the games the Bulls gave away and also added that Zach LaVine’s absence due to COVID-19 significantly derailed their late-season push.
Another interesting takeaway from Donovan’s remarks was the following quote: “I’ll always look at things I could’ve done better.”
This is a new situation for Billy Donovan. He came into the season with a relatively young basketball team that had to deal with the effects of COVID-19 as well as injuries to key rotational players.
On a positive note, Patrick Williams put together a solid rookie season in which he showed flashes of premier two-way forward capabilities. But he even admitted that he needed to be more aggressive when the team needed it.
During his end-of-season press conference, Williams stated he wants to be one of the greats in the NBA. He knows he has the skillset to do so, so it’s on him to put the work in. Williams ranked 12th in PPG for rookies this year, but that shouldn’t concern fans if he can be an elite to prolific scorer. The 2020 fourth overall pick shot 48% from the field and 39% from downtown. If Williams continues to grow his game in the offseason and brings a more aggressive style of play to the court going forward, his potential is limitless.
In Garrett Temple’s interview, the veteran guard pointed out that he would love to be back with the Chicago Bulls next season. While his stats don’t jump off the page, Temple brought veteran leadership to a young squad that needed it.
While upset in his postseason press conference, All-Star center Nikola Vucevic expressed plenty of confidence in the Bulls moving forward. Nikola knows that the team fell short of their goals this season, but as outlined below, he’s confident that the Bulls team can show more.
Vucevic knows the risks that Artūras Karnišovas and Marc Eversley took to bring him to Chicago, and he takes that seriously. Everything Vucevic stated in his press conference was characteristic of a motivated player who’s committed to being in Chicago and helping the Bulls win.
The final player on the docket is Zach LaVine. In his seventh NBA season, LaVine has yet to reach the playoffs. That won’t stop the highly motivated 2020-21 first-time NBA All-Star’s goals, however. LaVine has always been known as a gym rat. He’s already extended an invite to Coby White and Patrick Williams for offseason work.
LaVine is committed to the Chicago Bulls and wants to bring the franchise back to relevancy. The star guard seems content with the Bulls direction and head coach Billy Donovan has his full support.
In a humorous moment during LaVine’s media availability, Coby White crashed his presser. Check out the video below:
This Thursday at 7 PM CT, the Bulls On Tap crew will record a live season recap podcast. Make sure to follow us on Twitter to catch the show.