It came as a shock to some when the Chicago Bulls decided to re-sign Nikola Vucevic to a new three-year contract this past summer. Many thought they would hit the reset button and change courses, but instead, they brought back the same core and added a couple of veteran pieces.
After a rough start to the year, the Bulls have improved. They’ve cemented themselves as a legitimate Play-In Tournament contender, and with Zach LaVine missing a bunch of time, Coby White and DeMar DeRozan have been pillars of their success. However, Vucevic’s play has also been a huge part of it.
Head coach Billy Donovan recently spoke about how his passing abilities have helped propel the Bulls’ offense this season. (H/t Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times)
“We’ve been able to do more things where he’s kind of initiating actions from the elbows,” Donovan said. “He likes a style for him offensively where he can do all those kinds of things. He can pick, he can pop, he can roll into the pocket, and he can kind of read those situations. I think he’s in a real good place. When Zach went down [with his injury], I thought he really helped us with our ball movement, and he normally generates and does that for us.”
So far this season, Vucevic is averaging 16.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists while shooting 46.1% from the field and 27.2% from behind the three-point line.
While Vucevic could end up being a trade chip for the Bulls, he’s helping them win right now, and that’s what Donovan and the team care about most.