It’s always big News when an NBA all-star gets hurt especially if that all-star has been carrying his team, albeit to their less than expected win total. The Bulls announced Jimmy Butler will be out for 3-4 weeks with a knee strain, which is an injury that could huge effects through the Eastern Conference.
Currently, the bulls are a disappointing 27-24 and are in 7th in a very average Eastern Conference, however, at least currently the team in 8th, the Pistons are 27-26, which means the East is better, and closer, than it has been in the last few years. Less than two weeks ago the bulls were in 3rd only a few games behind the Raptors, but now with the personnel issues they have the playoffs seem far from a certainty.
Down two starters, Butler and Noah, the Bulls who have an only alright offense all year have been carried all year by individual performances be it from Gasol or Butler and sometimes Rose. With one of these players out it seems fairly intuitive that they will score less, but Jimmy Butler’s defense is oft glossed over. He is one the best defenders in the league and some call him the best two way player in the NBA.
It would be easy to see the Bulls going a few games under .500 during this next month or so, especially given that their bench has underperformed recently (I’m looking at you Mirotic). If the Pistons and the Hornets heat up even a little bit, watch out, the Bulls may have to make a run in the second half for the right to lose to the Cavs in round 1.