Bulls

Blackhawks breakdown: Sean O'Donnell

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Blackhawks breakdown: Sean O'Donnell

Over the next five weeks, CSNChicago.com Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers and PGL host Chris Boden will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Hawks roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.

Sean O'Donnell, 40, appeared in 51 games and averaged 13 minutes and 31 seconds of ice time per game. He did not score a goal and finished with seven assists. O'Donnell registered 46 hits, 44 blocked shots and 23 penalty minutes while finishing minus-6. He played in Games 1 and 4 of the playoff series vs. Phoenix, failing to record a point while going minus-3 with one hit and two blocked shots.

Boden's take: ODonnell and the coaching staff found themselves in a Catch-22 situation with the 40-year-old defenseman. They wanted him for depth, and the price (850,000) was right for a veteran of 104 playoff games, including a Stanley Cup. But they also wanted to preserve him from injury so he could be available for what was expected to be a longer postseason run. Whether ODonnells game simply slipped noticeably from his previous 15-plus NHL seasons or he just couldnt get into the right rhythm by suiting up for just 51 games, it didnt work out. You could see what the Hawks were thinking with the move, but the spot duty resulted in spotty play. He was a good voice for the locker room, and became the wise spokesman on more than one occasion even when he wasnt playing regularly. Hes an interesting guy to listen to, always willing to share his thoughts when asked, drawing on an NHL career that began in 1994-95 with the Los Angeles Kings.

Myers' take: Another veteran the Blackhawks hoped would bring depth to the defensemen corps, ODonnell did that for part of the season. Bringing more than 1,000 career games and Cup experience, ODonnell was a great locker-room presence. But on the ice, it looked like the seasons were catching up to ODonnell. Theres no doubting his hockey smarts, but time has slowed him.

2012-13 Expectations

Chris: Like another veteran brought in to fill a more regular role up front in Andrew Brunette, ODonnells Blackhawks career will be one-and-done. Their salary cap space will be more limited than a year ago, requiring greater impact in the depth they need to add this time around.

Tracey: Will the 40-year-old ODonnell play another NHL season? Thats uncertain at this point. Either way, it seems unlikely that hell play another game in a Blackhawks uniform. ODonnell is a great ambassador of the game; and if his playing days are over, hed make a great front-office presence for someone.

How do you feel about this evaluation? As always, be sure to chime in with your thoughts by commenting below.

Previously: Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Steve Montador

Up next: Brent Seabrook

Bulls Talk Podcast: Reaction to Kris Dunn's knee injury and where Bulls go from here

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Reaction to Kris Dunn's knee injury and where Bulls go from here

Kelly Crull, Mark Strotman and Will Perdue react to the news that Kris Dunn will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a knee injury.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: 

Kris Dunn to miss 4 to 6 weeks with MCL sprain

Kris Dunn to miss 4 to 6 weeks with MCL sprain

The hits keep coming for the Bulls, and after the latest one it might be time to fire up the 2019 mock drafts.

Fred Hoiberg revealed Tuesday before practice that point guard Kris Dunn suffered a moderate sprain of his left MCL in Monday’s loss to the Mavericks and will miss the next 4 to 6 weeks.

“To have him out of the lineup for an extended period, it’s extremely difficult,” Hoiberg said. “When you have a guy who is out there and really made strides over the course of last season and the summer he had and the way he played during training camp, it’s difficult to miss him.”

It’s yet another freak injury for Dunn, who suffered the injury midway through the second quarter while landing after a layup over DeAndre Jordan. Last year Dunn suffered a dislocated finger in the preseason and then suffered a concussion that cost him 11 games. A toe injury then ended his season as the tanking Bulls shut him down for the final 14 games.

But Dunn was expected to play a significant role in Year 2 of the Bulls’ rebuild. As well as leading the team in assists and being the most sure-handed closer, Dunn’s defensive prowess was going to help a Bulls team that finished 29th in efficiency and lost David Nwaba, perhaps their second best defender, in the offseason.

Even prior to Dunn’s injury the Bulls had been addressing the position behind him, claiming Tyler Ulis off waivers on Oct. 14 and signing Shaq Harrison on Sunday. They opted to keep Ryan Arcidiacono on the final roster and will now rely on some combination of those three behind Cam Payne, who tied a career high with 17 points on Saturday against the Pistons.

That’s why Dunn’s injury could affect the team more than Lauri Markkanen’s or Denzel Valentine’s. The Bulls were able to cover up Markkanen’s absence with Bobby Portis and free agent acquisition Jabari Parker, while they invested a first-round pick in wing Chandler Hutchison and guaranteed Antonio Blakeney’s contract over the summer.

There’s quantity on the Bulls’ depth chart behind Dunn, but quality is another story.

“Cam had his best game of maybe his career a couple games ago against Detroit,” Hoiberg said. “He has some things he can build on. The biggest thing at that position is you have to get us organized at both ends of the floor. That’s where Kris had taken a big step in the right direction with that. Arcidiacono is one of the better communicators and hardest-playing guys on our team. We’ve got guys who have some starting experience. It’s big shoes to fill. But I’m confident our guys will give great effort.”

It could mean more ball-handling responsibilities for Zach LaVine, who has been a terror in pick-and-roll sets three games into the season. Though he’s only averaged 2.7 assists, the Bulls offense has been humming, with his 32.3 points per game leading the way. Using LaVine as a primary ball handler could allow Hoiberg to run a point guard-less offense and mix and match the other backcourt position.

They’ll have to do it on the fly. The group of point guards the Bulls will face in the next 11 days include Kemba Walker (Charlotte) twice, Trae Young (Atlanta), Steph Curry (Golden State), Jamal Murray (Denver), Darren Collison (Indiana) and James Harden (Houston). It could get a lot worse for the Bulls before it gets any better, and with Markkanen, Valentine and now Dunn on the mend. 

For those looking into such things three games into the season, the Bulls are currently tied with the Thunder, Cavaliers and Lakers for the worst record in the league. The NBA changed its Lottery rules for this upcoming season, with the three worst teams in the league all sharing the same odds at receiving the top pick in the draft.