Bulls

Otto Porter Jr. will miss 2nd straight game with sprained left foot

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USA Today

Otto Porter Jr. will miss 2nd straight game with sprained left foot

If the Bulls gain revenge against the Knicks, it will be without Otto Porter Jr. The starting small forward didn't practice Monday and will miss his second straight game Tuesday with his sprained left foot.

The Bulls held Lauri Markkanen out of the contact portions of Monday's practice with a sore oblique muscle, but coach Jim Boylen said that Markkanen will play vs. the Knicks. For the second straight game, Chandler Hutchison will start for Porter.

"He’s got positional size. He loves to rebound," Boylen said of Hutchison. "In our system, if you rebound you can bring it. He had that one turnover when he rebounded and took two dribbles and tried to outlet it. That’s one I’d like to see him keep. Bring it up, make a decision and everyone run with him.

"He’s still working his way back. He missed a lot of games last year and he has missed games this year. I’m very happy with his effort and his energy. Athleticism and positional size are what we need and he brings those things."

The Bulls lost to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 28. After taking a 98-90 lead on a Markkanen 3-pointer with 3 minutes, 33 seconds to play, the Bulls didn't score again. The Knicks closed the game with a 15-0 run highlighted by two 3-pointers from Bobby Portis, who scored 28 points on 10-for-14 shooting and celebrated often against his former team.

"No words need to be said. We're not letting that happen," Wendell Carter Jr. said. "Bobby is going to want to put on a show. I'm not going to have it. I hope he's watching this. I ain't having it."

Carter then smiled and said he and Portis "are cool." But it's clear the loss still stings the Bulls, who are off to a disappointing 3-7 start.

Boylen continued to focus on the positives. The Bulls have blown three double-digit leads this season, including late leads, and struggled in the second halves of multiple games.

"Our defense is 15th in the league. We’re ninth in defense the last five games. Our shot profile is second in the league. We’re getting the shots we want. We’re No. 1 in the league at getting in the paint. I expect us to break through and shoot the ball better, finish better," Boylen said. "We have an improving basketball team. I have a belief in this group of guys. We’re going to keep working at what we do well. The things we need to clean up is our defensive rebounding, our corner contest and our execution in moments where we’re struggling to score. We can’t stop moving, can’t get stagnant."

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More on the Bulls

2020 NBA Draft Lottery going virtual, breaking Chicago's two-year host run

2020 NBA Draft Lottery going virtual, breaking Chicago's two-year host run

It’s felt pre-ordained for months now. Now, it appears it’s decided.

No, the Bulls didn’t draw the seventh pick in the 2020 NBA Draft (yet). But The Athletic’s Shams Charania did report Monday afternoon that the lottery scheduled for Aug. 20 will take place virtually. All 14 teams ‘in attendance’ will be allowed to ‘send’ remote representatives. The event will presumably be televised, but details haven’t emerged on that front yet.

It’s a logical gameplan given the COVID-19 pandemic’s ongoing nature, and the acclaim received by virtual draft showcases broadcast by the WNBA and NFL while live sports in the United States were effectively paused.

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The news also sends a few ripples in Bulls world. For one, who will rep the team, in this, its third consecutive lottery appearance? Michael Reinsdorf and Horace Grant manned the post in 2018 and 2019, respectively. But for this year? Benny the Bull would be sure to bring the energy. On the heels of the summer of “The Last Dance,” perhaps a dynasty-era contributor could get the call. Or maybe a newly-minted front office face instead? Time will tell.

And, as our K.C. Johnson pointed out on Twitter, this development also marks the end of a two-year streak of Chicago hosting the lottery in 2018 and 2019. The city has long housed the combine.

Here’s what Adam Silver told NBC Sports Chicago in February when asked his impressions of Chicago as a host-city for the lottery:

We have been very pleased in Chicago. Our community comes together in Chicago for our predraft camp and combine. It made perfect sense to also conduct the draft lottery there. And that was something that Mayor Emanuel never stopped reminding me of. Things can potentially change over time. We are enjoying being in Chicago. Because of the geographic location, it’s more convenient for our teams to be in a more central location. And Chicago, for the same reasons that makes it a fantastic All-Star host, has all the accommodations you need for our teams when they come together for our combine. My anticipation is we’ll be in Chicago for a while. And the city has been terrific to work with.

Silver made that comment before All-Star weekend in Chicago, but all of the above virtues translated. Though Bulls representation was limited, no one would deny Chicago played a splendid host for the festivities.

The Bulls enter this year’s lottery locked into the seventh-best odds (7.5%) at nabbing the No. 1 pick, and a 32% chance of vaulting into the top four. 

Slots No. 1 through No. 8 in the lottery standings are set with the teams excluded from the NBA’s restart. Slots No. 9 through 14 will populate at the end of the play-in round, when postseason seeding is officially set. Teams that started the restart as a top-eight seed in either conference can fall into the lottery if they miss the playoffs, but the ultimate order of the lottery odds will be decided by pre-hiatus record (meaning, for example, that if the current standings hold and the Phoenix Suns finish with a better record than the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings, but miss the postseason, the Suns would own better lottery odds than the Pels and Kings by virtues of each team’s pre-hiatus record).

All of which is to say, clear your calendars for next Thursday. After that, rumor and speculation are sure to swirl until the draft itself, which, as of right now, is reportedly scheduled for Oct. 16. The status of the combine remains up in the air, though ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported July 23 that the league is polling teams on which players should be invited to the combine if one takes place.

For the Bulls, helmed by a new front office regime and facing a moment of reckoning in the current rebuild, this year’s draft process is an especially crucial one.

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Bulls' Top 10 Centers in franchise history

Bulls' Top 10 Centers in franchise history

NBC Sports Chicago is counting down the top 10 Bulls at each position in franchise history.

We've hit the point guards, shooting guards, small forwards and power forwards. And last, but certainly not least, the men in the middle. The centers.

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Defensive anchors, multi-skilled hubs and blue-collar tenacity abound in these rankings. And plenty of hardware — both of the championship and individual variety.

We hope you've enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Without further adieu...

Bulls' Top 10 Centers in franchise history

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