The Chicago Bulls gave an update on points guard Lonzo Ball on Wednesday, and it wasn’t good for the team or fans who were hoping to see a home ground captain hit the field on opening night.
Ball will undergo arthroscopic debridement on his left knee on Wednesday, September 28 in Los Angeles, according to the Bulls. He will be re-evaluated by the club’s medical staff within four to six weeks.
The 24-year-old Ball has been out of service since her mid-January loss to the Golden State Warriors when he tore his meniscus. Days later, it was announced that he would be under the knife, after which he would be out for six to eight weeks. However, the player continued to have pain in his knee and was eventually disqualified for the remainder of the season.
Given the way the injury to the ball negatively affected the 2021-22 Bulls campaign, it’s hard to feel optimistic about what will happen to Chicago. However, the team may be in a better position to deal with their loss this time around, at least in the short term.
The bulls have improved the depth of the back area
The Bulls were in bad shape when the ball went down last season. Thanks to a cheap shot from Grayson Allen, Alex Caruso was dealing with a broken wrist at the time, too. And while there was a level of hype or goodwill surrounding Ayo Dosunmu, the homegrown guard was still just a rookie without a frame of reference for an NBA playoff push.
Losing the ball for so long again this season is definitely a punch in the gut. At the same time, though, the bulls may be in a better position to absorb the last big blow.
For his part, Dosunmu put in a great performance after being entered into the Billy Donovan streak at the start. In 40 games as a first player, the youngster averaged 10.9 points, 5.4 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per competition. However, these numbers did not always translate into a positive impact on the scoreboard.
Now, however, he has a full year plus a breakout streak under his belt, a better familiarity with the extended role and his own natural development curve to lean on.
Meanwhile, Caruso looks healthy to take off and has also shown that he can produce with increased minutes. The 28-year-old scored career-highs in assists (4.0 per game), rebounds (3.6) and steals (1.7) while playing 28 minutes each night last season.
His defensive prowess could be especially important, as it was Ball who led the effort at this end before he got hurt.
Finally, former All-Star Goran Dragic will be on the bench this time around and is fresh on an impressive run with Slovenia at the European Basketball Championships. Over seven matches in the tournament, the 36-year-old put in a 15-4-4 streak and hit out on 53.8% of field shooting attempts.
Cuban white not an option to soak up PG minutes?
One player who probably won’t take the reins as captain is former No. 7 pick Kobe White, whose name has been circulating in trade chatter and who has yet to receive an extension from the team that drafted him.
In a conversation with Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney, a rival executive opined that White’s time spent guarding points over the past few years may have negatively affected the way he views him around the league.
“It wouldn’t be your starting point. Maybe he damaged his reputation, because he wasn’t a goalkeeper, by putting him in that place,” the executive said. He’ll restore his reputation when that happens.”