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Analysis Bulls

Bulls 2018-19 Report Cards: Centers

Bulls 2018-19 Report Cards: Centers. Katy takes a look at what the centers brought to the Bulls this past season and their future outlook with the team.

The Bulls 2018-19 season is officially over, which means that it’s time to evaluate the team’s performance over the past 82 games. 

Introducing: player report cards. Broken down by position, we’ll be evaluating each player’s performance this season, including their top moment of the season and potential future with the team. 

Disclaimer: position report cards will not include players that were on the team for less than half the season. Those players will be compiled in their own report card story later on.

Wendell Carter Jr.: A+

At the end of December, the Bulls were plunged into a deep, dark losing streak.

Spanning 10 games, the streak included a 37-point beat down from the Golden State Warriors and spirit-breaking 30-point loss to the Denver Nuggets. That three-week span where the Bulls didn’t win a single game was the darkest of the season.

But, still, with all the negativity, Wendell Carter was a ray of hope for the future. Less than a month removed from the Fred Hoiberg firing, Carter was firing on all cylinders and carrying himself with class.

Some of Carter’s best games of the season came during the long losing streak, a testament to his desire to step up for the team.

Carter posted 16 points and 11 rebounds in the December 30 loss to Toronto. Five days later, in a overtime loss to the Indiana Pacers, Carter had a monster 15-point, 8-rebound, 3-assist, 3-steal game. And in the January 9 loss to the Portland Trailblazers, Carter added another 22 points and six rebounds to his rookie highlight reel.

Carter went down with a toe injury just before the losing streak ended, which would eventually take him out for the rest of the season. The injury, and the concern for the future that comes with it, was the only downside to Carter’s rookie season.

His heart and his positivity in the face of a season-ending injury make it easy to justify an A+, and the hope for his future with the Bulls is the best thing the team had going for them this season.

Moment of the season: this fearless block on poster machine Russell Westbrook

Cristiano Felicio: F+

I don’t take giving an F lightly.

I didn’t set out to hand out failing grades to bad players just for the fun of pointing out that they’re bad. But Cristiano Felicio had every opportunity to improve this season.

He was given significantly more playing time this season to prove that he is worth a bit of the massive four-year contract he signed with the Bulls a few off-seasons ago. Or to prove that he was worth some of the $8 million-plus he’ll earn from the same contract next season or the $7 million-plus he’ll earn for the 2020-21 season.

As the Bulls strived for a higher draft pick, as he was subbed in for Robin Lopez countless times, Felicio continued to prove that he was the best asset for tanking. But not much of an asset beyond it.

There is one game from this season worth mentioning, though. In what should’ve been Bobby Portis‘ second revenge game against the Bulls, Felicio became the big story. He scored 15 points and pulled down six rebounds in 20 minutes of play, which lead the Bulls to a nine-point win over the Wizards.

Moment of the season: putting the Suns defense in a spin cycle

Robin Lopez: A-

Ah, Robin Lopez.

Giant, lovable, crazy Robin Lopez.

Prior to this season, Lopez was just supposed to be a rebound machine and mascot fighter. But he came out swinging, and shooting, right from the start.

Lopez was arguably the most consistent Bull this season, in contention with only Zach LaVine. He developed a more well-rounded game, even incorporating a three-point shot late in the season.

His hook shot became a signature move and, even in the midst of talks about the Bulls buying him out of his contract, Lopez held a steady leadership presence.

The only knock against the big man this season is that he was too good and helped the Bulls win too many games, dropping their draft position. Later in the season, the Bulls figured it out and kept him on the bench. But you do have to wonder…if the Bulls had designated him to the bench sooner, would they have a better draft position?

Moment of the season: the birth of a truly iconic three-point celebration

 

Follow Katy on Twitter (@katyduffy_) for more Bulls news and opinion.

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