Bulls forward Thad Young knows evaluations are all but out the window

When vice president of basketball operations John Paxson stayed put at the trade deadline, he insisted it was so the organization could find out what exactly they have when the injured players get back. That is still anyone’s guess, as the waiting game continues.

SHARE Bulls forward Thad Young knows evaluations are all but out the window
The Bulls’ Thad Young says the number of injuries this season has made it difficult to evaluate the team.

The Bulls’ Thad Young says the number of injuries this season has made it difficult to evaluate the team.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Bulls forward Thaddeus Young had to laugh — not because the topic was funny, but out of sheer disbelief. In 13 years in the NBA, could he ever recall playing on a team with so many serious injuries?

“No, this is a first,’’ Young said Tuesday. “My last season in Philly [in 2014] was a different situation because we had so many guys that were coming in and out on the [10-day contracts]. That posed a problem every night, but that was a tank situation. This situation here has been completely different. We weren’t in the process of trying to tank. We were in the process of trying to see what we could do, and see what we could continue to build and grow. It’s just been an unfortunate situation.”

It gets more unfortunate by the day. The Bulls still are without forward Otto Porter Jr. (left foot), center Wendell Carter Jr. (right ankle), guard Denzel Valentine (hamstring) and forward Lauri Markkanen (right pelvis). And don’t even ask about guard Kris Dunn (right knee), who likely will miss the remainder of the season.

The hope was that Carter and Porter would be back by the end of February and that the others would start trickling back in as March started. That could still happen, but Carter and Porter have yet to see any game action despite both having practiced in the last week.

“To worry about that or be upset about it, I can’t control it,” coach Jim Boylen said. “As far as guys coming back, I’m anxiously optimistic about [Wednesday] having a practice and Thursday having a practice. Maybe Friday I’ll have some better news.

“It’s an interesting thing. You need to always look ahead, always plan, but you’ve got to be in the moment, too. Right now I’m in the moment.”

It’s not exactly a great place to be, considering all the losing that has gone on with the body count in the training room at a season high. While Bulls players and coaches don’t want to come out and call this a wasted season, it basically has been. The front office claims not to know what it has in the team, and it’s just as unclear to the players.

“It makes it very hard to just have an observation of how everything will play out,” Young said. “You see bits and pieces when you have certain guys that play. The other thing, too, that makes it difficult is you don’t know what rotations or what lineups can really, really work together if you don’t have everybody at full strength or not everyone is healthy.

“When you don’t have the bodies that you should have, it puts you in a situation where you’ve got to pivot. I think this season we’ve spent a lot of time pivoting — pivot around one situation, and then having to pivot around another. That’s not how you want to play this game.”

This and that

Here’s an oddity: As bad as the Bulls have been, they’re actually 7-2 on the back ends of back-to-backs this season, winning the last five.

• Center Luke Kornet was still on crutches and in a walking boot and missed his third straight game Tuesday with a sprained left ankle.

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