NBA on TNT analyst Charles Barkley believes it’s time for the Chicago Bulls to make roster and personnel changes. The Bulls have not advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs since the 2014-15 season.
“It’s time to break up the Bulls,” Barkley told Chicago’s WMVP-AM 1000. “Blow it up. It’s time. You’ve got some good players, you’re not good enough. It’s time to start the rebuild.”
Per multiple NBA betting sites, the Bulls’ championship odds rank 20th at the moment. A number of sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat.
— ESPN 1000 (@ESPN1000) December 7, 2022
“Come on, man, you’re not close,” added Charles Barkley. “The Celtics and the Bucks are on a whole other level than [the rest of] the Eastern Conference.”
Last season, the Bulls finished 46-36 and sixth overall in the East. But the loss of Lonzo Ball due to a knee injury prior to the postseason put a damper on any chance they had of defeating the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round.
Charles Barkley says now is the time for the Bulls to make changes, the Celtics and Bucks are “on a whole other level”
Now, the Bulls have a lot of talent in Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, Lonzo Ball, and others. However, while the team is still at least one superstar away from becoming a solid title contender, the bigger story here is injuries.
Ball made just 35 starts in the 2021-22 season. In September, it was reported that Ball would miss the first three months this season. When healthy, the Bulls are a good team. To become great, the front office needs to make adjustments.
If the Bulls want to compete for a championship, G.M. Marc Eversley should consider trading the UCLA product for a reliable scorer. Charles Barkley hinted that point.
The Chicago Bulls are now 3-8 in their last 11 games… 😬
Is it time to blow it up? pic.twitter.com/N99Y4UptWt
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) December 5, 2022
Even when Ball returns from his knee injury, he might not be the same player. Chicago is averaging 111.7 points per game, which ranks 16th overall in the league. Bulls fans are not interested in settling for mediocrity.
Additionally, the Bulls rank 20th in team floor percentage (49.7%). Chicago is also allowing 112.8 points per game, ranking 15th in the NBA as well. In the 2021-22 season, Ball shot 42.3% from the field and a career-high 42.3% beyond the arc. Can the 25-year-old average more points while shooting over 40% from downtown when he returns?
DeRozan leads the Bulls in scoring, averaging 25.5 points per game. Of course, LaVine is logging 22.2 points per contest. Quite a few of the key pieces are there, though, the team needs a rising star such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to give them an extra push.
More importantly, under coach Billy Donovan, the Bulls are 87-91 in the regular season. They returned to the playoffs last season for the first time since the 2016-17 season, when Chicago lost in six games against the Celtics during the first round.
The Bulls could make an in-season trade soon. They have a couple of months to make a move. The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 9 at 3 p.m. ET. Charles Barkley is wrong on some things, but he a made a great point this time.
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