Why the Bulls went UNDER 30 wins this season
Why the Bulls went UNDER 30 wins this season
The Chicago Bulls' loss to the Jazz locked in the under on their win total of 30 from right before the season. Here's why it happened.
After winning 27 games last season, the Chicago Bulls [opened at 27.5 wins](https://www.betchicago.com/bulls-win-total-las-vegas-bet-over) at the Westgate LV SuperBook for the 2018-19 campaign. With bettors feeling bullish about the Bulls, [that number jumped all the way up to 30 wins by mid-September](https://www.betchicago.com/chicago-bulls-wins-total), the biggest jump in the NBA. Things haven't gone as planned for the Bulls, though, and their ugly 114-83 loss to the Utah Jazz guarantees they'll be going under 30 wins. They still have a tiny chance to go over 27.5 wins, but their 21-53 record means it's going to take a 7-1 finish to the season to do it. There are numerous reasons why this Bulls season has gone so poorly ... or well, if you bet the under. Let's take a look at some. ### Injuries The Bulls were stung by the injury bug immediately. Lauri Markkanen suffered a right elbow injury at the start of training camp and didn't make his regular-season debut until Dec. 1. Key bench piece Denzel Valentine also got hurt in camp and was later ruled out for the season without playing a game. Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis suffered sprained MCLs at the outset of the regular season, and both players missed significant time (Portis was later traded to the Washington Wizards). Wendell Carter Jr. hasn't played since mid-January, while fellow rookie Chandler Hutchison hasn't seen the court since the end of January. Both youngsters were just officially ruled done for the seaason, and Otto Porter Jr. and Zach LaVine might be right behind them. Porter and LaVine have missed a handful of games themselves. Injuries are a part of every season, and a relatively healthy campaign doesn't mean the Bulls would've been any good. But the sheer amount of key injuries, plus a lack of quality depth, really put them behind the eight ball from the get-go. The health problems led to a 5-19 start and the firing of Fred Hoiberg. ### The weird Jim Boylen transition Jim Boylen took over for Fred Hoiberg right as the Bulls were getting key players back from injury. Boylen still implemented a slow-it-down offense, [insisting](https://chicago.suntimes.com/sports/bulls-coach-jim-boylen-isnt-about-to-start-apologizing-for-muddying-up-games/) he wanted his young team to be able to "crawl before we walk, and walk before we run," but often the product was just unwatchable. The Bulls started with a respectable 5-7 record under Boylen, but one of those losses was a historic 56-point defeat against the Boston Celtics, which was then followed up by a near-mutiny. Things got even uglier as the calendar flipped to 2019. There was a stretch of 10 straight losses and 14 defeats in 15 games. From the time Boylen took over through the end of January, Chicago posted a woeful 101.9 points per 100 possessions while playing at a sluggish pace of 97.67, [per NBA.com. ](https://stats.nba.com/team/1610612741/advanced/?Season=2018-19&SeasonType=Regular%20Season&DateFrom=12%2F04%2F2018&DateTo=01%2F31%2F2019) The Bulls picked things up in February after the Porter trade, but the beginning of Boylen's tenure was truly brutal, and March has been mostly bad as well. ### The Jabari Parker flop The Bulls used all their cap space to give Jabari Parker a two-year, $40 million deal, with a team option on that second season. While the short nature of the deal mitigated the risk and Chicago was able to trade Parker and Portis for Porter, the signing was still a flop. Parker was a disaster to start the preseason, even at power forward in place of the injured Markkanen, and Hoiberg almost immediately moved him out of the starting lineup. The coaching staff abandoned the idea of Parker at small forward, the position he was signed to play. Parker finally started to find a bit of a groove after his horrid start, but he was soon benched after Boylen took over. It was only a matter of time before a trade went down, and it finally did before the deadline. Parker finished his short Bulls stint with averages of 14.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 39 appearances. He shot 47.4 percent overall and 32.5 percent on 3-pointers. These numbers don't look bad, but he was a major minus defensively and didn't actually improve the offense. The Bulls [were outscored by a whopping 10.8 points per 100 possessions](https://stats.nba.com/team/1610612741/onoffcourt-advanced/?sort=NET_RATING&dir=1) in his 1,042 minutes. ### Horrible defense While the Bulls' ugly offense to start Boylen's tenure garnered a lot of headlines, the defense has been awful basically all season. There was a brief improvement when Boylen first took over, but it only went downhill from there and has been especially bad lately. Chicago is giving up 112.4 points per 100 possessions this season, [which is 25th in the NBA](https://stats.nba.com/teams/advanced/?sort=DEF_RATING&dir=-1), and that defensive rating [is a deplorable 115.7 in March.](https://stats.nba.com/teams/advanced/?sort=DEF_RATING&dir=-1&Season=2018-19&SeasonType=Regular%20Season&Month=6) The Bulls have been victimized by the 3-point shot all season, thanks in part to atrocious transition defense. They don't stop much else either, and they're really going to need Wendell Carter Jr. to develop into a top-notch defensive anchor to help turn the defense around. ### Kris Dunn's stagnation After showing nice flashes in his second season, the hope was that Kris Dunn would take another sizable step forward in his third season. That hasn't happened. Dunn's MCL injury to start the season was a major setback, but he has since failed to show any tangible growth. He's averaging 11.3 points, 6.0 assists and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 42.5 percent overall and 35.4 percent from 3-point land. His lack of 3-point attempts and free-throw attempts are a major problem, and they contribute to his poor 48.4 true shooting percentage, which is worse than last season (48.8). Furthermore, Dunn hasn't been the impact defender the Bulls hoped. While his aggressive nature allows him to rack up steals and deflections, it also can result in failed gambles getting him out of position. Chicago has actually been worse defensively with Dunn on the court compared to when he's on the bench, and while that's not all on him, it certainly isn't ideal. With Dunn struggling to stake his claim as the Bulls' point guard of the future, expect to see an attempt to make an upgrade at the position this offseason. Murray State's Ja Morant looks like an attractive option at the top of the draft, but a veteran point guard upgrade could also be in the cards. __More:__ [BetChicago NBA coverage](https://www.betchicago.com/nba-betting)2019-03-24T21:17:22.477Z2019-03-24T12:00-07:00