Wendell Carter Jr. is on his way to doubling his double-doubles from a season ago.
It’s something the Bulls’ second-year center is well aware of — and a number he is looking to build upon as a scorer and rebounder.
“I take a lot of pride in that,” Carter said. “The more versatile you are as a player, being able to affect both ends of the court, the more valuable you are in this league. So I take that as a challenge and try to stick to it every day.”
Carter has 12 double-doubles in 22 starts after scoring 16 points and grabbing 13 rebounds Wednesday in the Bulls’ 106-99 victory against the Grizzlies. He had seven double-doubles in 44 starts last season.
The statistic is reflective of Carter’s continued improvement, coach Jim Boylen said. He is tied for ninth in the league in double-doubles.
“Health, consistent play, conditioning, he’s in unbelievable shape,” Boylen said. “He’s an intelligent player, so when you’re healthy and you feel good and you can get up and down, I think you have a tendency to thrive, and he’s doing that, and he embraces the dirty-work parts of the game, which we need.
“He anchors our defense, which he takes pride in, and he’s a developing young offensive player. We’ve tried to give him the ball more. We’ve made a conscious effort to run a few things for him, and he’s responded.”
Carter squared up against Jaren Jackson Jr., whom the Grizzlies drafted three spots ahead of him at No. 4 overall in 2018. Both players are the same age, but Carter said he had no hard feelings about getting bypassed by Memphis and falling to No. 7 overall, where the Bulls took him.
“I try not to pay too much attention to that,” Carter said.
“Teams require different personnel, so I’m not worried about that.”
Forwards Otto Porter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison remain sidelined with no timetable for their returns, Boylen said.
Porter underwent an MRI exam on his left foot, but results were not available before the game.
“Maybe that will tell us it’s healing, maybe it won’t,” Boylen said. “But, yeah, it’s frustrating.”
Meanwhile, a follow-up examination showed that Hutchison has a soft-tissue bruise on his right shoulder.
The Bulls have been without Porter since his last game Nov. 6. Hutchison has missed five of the last seven games.
Guard Kris Dunn made his third start in a row with both players out of the mix.