Billy Donovan Rumors
Rob Schaefer: Billy Donovan described himself as “disappointed” with Bulls missing playoffs with 31-41 record. Said he’s going to assess what he could have done better. Added that the missed opportunities were most difficult thing to overcome. Being close to play-in adds to disappointment.
But Donovan rushed to Markkanen’s defense Thursday. “I disagree with anybody that says, ‘Well, he has really dropped off or tailed off. He’s done this,’” Donovan said. “I disagree with that. Just because it’s changed for him. His minutes have changed. His role has changed. “The one thing I’ve always asked Lauri to do is compete and play and maximize the time you’re out there for the benefit of the team. And he has always done that. And I respect and appreciate that from him.”
“I haven’t had any conversations with Arturas (Karnišovas) or Marc (Eversley) on that,” Donovan said. “I would just say this: I really, really love Lauri as a player. He’s a great guy. And he has been an incredible teammate. And he has sacrificed a lot.” Donovan then detailed changes Markkanen has endured: The midseason trade that brought Nikola Vučević and Daniel Theis, the multiple role changes that saw him playing center, power forward and small forward, the February shoulder injury, the January stay in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
In 16 games since returning to the starting lineup, White has averaged 16 points, four rebounds and six assists. He’s turned the ball over only twice per game over that span while averaging 33 minutes. Donovan noted how much Vučević and a slower pace have helped. “For a young point guard like Coby, sometimes the faster the game gets going up and down the floor, there’s a lot quicker decisions you have to make,” Donovan said. “And certainly our pace and tempo are not what it was earlier in the year. And he doesn’t necessarily have to rely on Vooch to create. He can allow Vooch to kind of create for him and Vooch creates either a lot of jump shots or a lot of closeouts for him. … I think those two guys have really helped each other quite a bit.”