NEW YORK – The Bulls have played 146 regular-season games since making Chandler Hutchison their second selection in the first round (No. 22 overall) of the 2018 NBA Draft.
As of Sunday, the forward out of Boise State has participated in 72 of them.
A broken foot as a rookie, an uncooperative hamstring to start this year’s training camp, and now a right shoulder injury that is sounding more and more like he will join Kris Dunn (right MCL) and Luke Kornet (foot fracture) as season-ending shutdowns, and yet Hutchison refuses to buy into the idea that he’s injury-prone.
“I get it, I understand how that could come up,’’ Hutchison said, when asked about his growing reputation. “For me I don’t worry too much about it. Part of being at this level is you understanding what people are going to think and you not giving too much energy to it. I mean also it’s understanding that the two injuries that have caused me to miss a bunch of games – the broken foot, that happens with less than 20 seconds left in a game. Then the next one [the shoulder] I get caught by a screen … it’s just been some freak deals. I’m hoping I’m just getting the brunt of it now.’’
He’s not alone in that hoping department.
The holes on this Bulls roster are glaring. They sorely lack a proven point guard to run the offense and get guys into their spots, and they are severely undermanned when it comes to athletic forwards – maybe the most important position on the floor most nights.
Hutchison was at least a body that – on paper – could go out and give them minutes at that wing spot, with the hope of developing into a defensive-minded stopper someday, but the most important ability to have in the NBA these days is availability, and Hutchison has fallen very short in that department.
The hope was Hutchison was on a path back after having his third shot of cortisone a few weeks back, but the reality of the situation is there are few days left on the calendar.
That’s why coach Jim Boylen hinted Hutchison could officially be shut down for the remainder of the season soon.
“I think that’s a possibility,’’ Boylen said. “We hope not. That’s always a possibility, if I were to be truthful with you, which I try and do.’’
A day closer
Zach LaVine (quadriceps) missed his fourth consecutive game on Sunday, but was expected to practice on Monday, and then re-evaluated on Tuesday.
With LaVine out, the Bulls have had to make up his 25.5 points per game, as well as 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists, while shooting 38 percent from three. They’ve also gone 1-3 without LaVine.