The Chicago Bulls were on a high for much of this season – but that might all be crashing down around them.
If you’ve been watching the Windy City squad lately, you’ll notice they have been far less consistent than usual (they’ve given up seven of their last nine games) and they have slipped from first to third in the Eastern Conference.
LaVine should be back hopefully within the next week but Ball and Caruso are out for around six to eight weeks and that’s causing a major headache for the Bulls.
Injury Update: Alex Caruso will undergo surgery early next week and be re-evaluated in 6-8 weeks after sustaining a fracture of his right wrist in last night’s game versus the Milwaukee Bucks.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 22, 2022
Caruso is a particularly tricky case because what he brings to the team is so important, so varied, and so hard to duplicate.
But duplicate they must so how will the Bulls attempt to replace Caruso in the weeks ahead as he heals?
The Shove Heard ‘Round The World
Caruso was the victim of one of the dirtiest fouls of the season when he was shoved mid-air by Milwaukee Bucks player Grayson Allen.
Grayson Allen draws a flagrant 2 for a HARD foul on Alex Caruso pic.twitter.com/NjCJEzo7zu
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) January 22, 2022
The foul led to Caruso injuring his wrist, which will require surgery and time to recover.
Understandably, Chicago fans were not happy with Allen’s foul (he was ejected from that game and then suspended for one more) and were truly concerned for Caruso’s health.
This couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Bulls, who are struggling to remain at the top of the East and need Caruso’s help to do so.
What Caruso Causes
When you look at Caruso, you might not think he’d be such a competitive player but you’d be totally wrong: he’s one of the most impressive guys in the entire NBA.
The first thing you should know about Caruso is that he achieves an average of 1.9 steals a game, which is a ridiculously high number – in fact, it was once a league-high.
It’ll be hard to replicate those 1.9 steals but Chicago is going to have to try because those are all point-making opportunities the team didn’t have before.
The Bulls player with the second-most amount of steals per game is, ironically, Ball so the team is going to have to look elsewhere for that output.
But Caruso does so much more than that.
The man’s defensive output is something to write home about: he is someone who absolutely smothers his competition.
Caruso is a dedicated player and does not let his target out of his sights, following them all around the court and making life very, very hard for whoever he is defending.
In the weeks ahead, you can bet the Bulls’ defensive game will slide down a few notches without Caruso unless they can duplicate his style.
Again, expect one of the guards to attempt to fill the void here but hopefully they can get a few pointers from Caruso himself because he has made defense an absolute art.
More than anything, Caruso plays with heart, enthusiasm, and true drive.
These are all the things the Bulls will miss while he’s gone.