By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
Nikola Vucevic is still in the NBA’s health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19. During his absence the last week, the Chicago Bulls have been on the road and secured a couple of wins over a total of four games.
Vucevic, 31, has not yet entered the cardiovascular testing phase, said head coach Billy Donovan. His side will complete the ten-day trip visiting the Denver Nuggets on Friday. From there, a back-to-back at home featuring clashes with the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers on Sunday and Monday, respectively.
Donovan, 56, commenting on the loss against the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday, pointed out the lack of creativity at the center position. Back-ups Tony Bradley and Alize Johnson have been on the task of covering for Vucevic.
“I thought our bigs had plays to do things offensively and we weren’t able to make enough of them with the amount of pressure and aggressiveness they placed on our perimeter,” he said, “We needed somebody in the middle of the floor who could make a play and maybe create something.”
Before being sidelined, Vucevic had discussed the center assignment with Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “He wants me to flash to the ball and get actions out of that,” he described the role set by Donovan, “It’s pretty similar to something I’ve done for years to try to be more of a facilitator.”
With 13.6 points, 10.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.9 blocks per game, the Montenegrin big man was among the main contributors in the 8-3 start to the 2021-22 NBA Regular Season. He recorded a double-double in seven out of the 11 games.
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