Bulls

Season in Review: Cris Felicio continues to struggle

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USA TODAY

Season in Review: Cris Felicio continues to struggle

Over the next month we'll be recapping each of the Bulls' individual 2018-19 regular seasons.

Previous reviews: Lauri Markkanen | Shaq Harrison | Ryan Arcidiacono | Otto Porter  | Wayne Selden | Zach LaVine | Antonio Blakeney

Preseason expectations: The Bulls clearly had moved on from Cristiano Felicio after last season, when he averaged 17.8 minutes and couldn't even crack the rotation for a 27-win team until they were in full tank mode. Expectations were lowered further when the Bulls spent the seventh overall pick on center Wendell Carter Jr., pushing Felicio further down the depth chart behind the rookie and Robin Lopez. He was emergency depth and nothing else. Granted, the Bulls needed it after Carter was lost midway through the season after thumb surgery, but no one expected all that much from the 26-year-old center. He simply never panned out and there was little, if any, upside to get excited about.

What went right: To his credit, Felicio provided the Bulls with some nice minutes in the wake of Carter's thumb surgery. He had a pretty nice stretch in March in which he averaged 11.2 points on 63 percent shooting and 6.6 rebounds in a five-game stretch. He reached double figures in four of those games, including a 15-point performance on 7 of 11 shooting in a home win over the Wizards. It was a lone bright spot in what was another lost season for Felicio.

What went wrong: He just doesn't provide anything on the defensive end - he had seven blocks in 746 minutes - and his offensive game is incredibly limited. He actually has a good feel for when to roll and his footwork is solid, but his hands aren't all that great, he's not very physical for being 265 pounds and he doesn't have great range - he was 4 of 18 on shots outside of the paint. There isn't a whole to say that isn't already known.

The Stat: 7 in 700

As previously mentioned, Felicio's block totals were incredibly low. In fact, he became just the 23rd player listed 6-foot-10 or taller to block fewer than 8 shots in more than 700 minutes. Here's the list, and it's not a great one to be on for someone who isn't a 3-point specialist.

2019-20 Expectations: Maybe, maybe, maybe Felicio puts in an incredible amount of work this summer and lands himself the backup center position behind Carter. That's a huge if. The Bulls almost certainly are going to address the position in the wake of Lopez's free agency. That being said, expectations are low. The more realistic scenario is Felicio riding the bench, playing garbage time minutes and perhaps being used as a trade chip in 2020 as an expiring contract. That's about it. The Bulls swung and missed, and last season didn't change that.

Bulls provide update on Kris Dunn recovery timeline from knee injury

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USA Today

Bulls provide update on Kris Dunn recovery timeline from knee injury

Just one day after Wendell Carter Jr. and Otto Porter Jr. provided cautiously optimistic updates on their injury recoveries, the Bulls took a hit.

On Wednesday, the team announced that Kris Dunn will continue his current rehabilitation schedule on his right MCL for four to six weeks before "progressing to functional training" and determining if "additional treatment" is required (i.e. reevaluation). That timeline is a result of an MRI and reexamination conducted on Dunn's knee on Feb. 14.

Dunn sprained his right MCL 13 seconds into a loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Jan. 31. The Bulls' defensive efficiency and playoff chances have plummeted since that time, and this news confirms suspicions that an extended absence would be in the cards.

To that point: With about two months remaining in the regular season, a four-to-six week reevaluation timeline casts serious doubt on whether Dunn will return at all this year — a possibility the Bulls have already been preparing for.

Dunn is set to his restricted free agency this offseason, and has proven immensely valuable to the Bulls in his third season with the team. Before going down, Dunn was second in the NBA in total steals and the Bulls owned the seventh-rated defense in the league.

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Bulls coach Jim Boylen stumps for Rudy Tomjanovich's Hall of Fame bid

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USA Today

Bulls coach Jim Boylen stumps for Rudy Tomjanovich's Hall of Fame bid

In case you forgot, Jim Boylen once worked for Rudy Tomjanovich. In fact, the former Rockets coach gave Boylen his NBA start, hiring him as an assistant coach and video coordinator way back in 1992.

Boylen saw first-hand the coaching chops and commitment Tomjanovich displayed as the Rockets won back-to-back NBA titles while Michael Jordan was playing baseball in the mid-1990s. So it's beyond loyalty when Boylen says he believes, like many others, that Tomjanovich belongs in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. The organization named Tomjanovich a finalist over All-Star weekend in Chicago.

[RELATED: Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett highlight Hall of Fame finalists]

"He's deserving," Boylen said. "I don't know why he's not in there yet. It doesn't make sense to me. Two championships, a gold medal."

That's a reference to Tomjanovich coaching USA Basketball's gold-medal winning team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Tomjanovich is an occasional visitor to the Advocate Center to watch Boylen.

"What he did with those Rockets teams and his playoff games — sixth seed in '95 — nobody's duplicated that. To win it from the sixth seed, play on the road like we did," Boylen said. "He has an unbelievable record in elimination games, which I think is a true test of your coaching and being able to communicate your message. I think he's getting in."

Does Boylen possess inside information?

"No," Boylen said, smiling. "He's due."

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