Bulls’ Wendell Carter Jr. gets benched as his ‘reframing’ moves forward

Carter admittedly always has had difficulty moving forward in games after poor plays or possessions, but coach Billy Donovan is doing his best to get him to stop dwelling on plays. How it works will fall on the third-year center.

SHARE Bulls’ Wendell Carter Jr. gets benched as his ‘reframing’ moves forward
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Coach Billy Donovan is well aware of the fact that third-year big man Wendell Carter Jr. gets stuck in bad moments.

Donovan didn’t need to watch Carter’s somber news conference after the loss to the Heat on Friday to remind him.

What Donovan is focused on, however, is trying to make sure Carter has fewer such moments moving forward.

“I do think [Carter] can change,’’ Donovan said Sunday. “The way I’ve tried to get him to reframe his thinking, so to speak, is I’m sure in his daily conversations or when you guys have spoken to him, it probably comes across pretty clear that he’s a real good team guy, and he really is. He cares about the team. But my point to him has been, ‘OK, if you really care about the team, then you can’t dwell because it’s affecting the next play. So just understand that you may beat yourself up on that play, but if that play lingers on into three other plays, how is that helping our team?’ And I think for him he takes time and he’s really smart and a bright guy, and I think he really internalizes a lot of things. And I think it’s about him reframing it.’’

Hopefully it works. Something has to.

Carter has been very open and honest about the way he tends to beat himself up on the court after a poor possession or a mistake that he deems a bad one. It was that way for him back in high school and even before that.

He feels like he has improved in that department but still has his moments. In the loss to the Heat, there were plenty of them. So when he spoke to the media afterward, he was obviously down.

“Honestly, I just . . . I don’t know . . . just, I just got to play better,’’ Carter said after a basic question about his conditioning post-injury. “I don’t really know what else to say to that question.’’

Donovan said he has continued to remind Carter, both during games and in-between games, to turn the page and even gave him more time to think about that Sunday against the Raptors, replacing Carter in the starting lineup with Thad Young.

But all the talk and lineup juggling only goes so far. It will be on Carter to start having fewer stuck-in-the-mud moments if he wants to live up to being the seventh overall pick from the 2018 draft.

“I think one of his things that he’s got to do in his growth as a player is he’s got to move to the next play,’’ Donovan said. “In a lot of ways he looks at himself as, ‘Hey, I’m letting myself down, I’m letting the team down.’ But if that play or one play couples into three or four plays, that’s even more detrimental to the team. What’s really good to the team if he’s going to be a really good team guy? It’s move to the next play and try to focus on what’s in front of you next. I do think he can do that.’’

Temple of doom?

Veteran guard Garrett Temple, who left the Heat game with a sprained left ankle, did not play Sunday against the Raptors. Donovan said the next few days will determine when he’s able to return.

“Next few days just to see how he does, just to get a gauge of what the timetable would look like,’’ Donovan said. “But certainly he’s going to be out for a little bit. What a little bit is I’m not sure.’’

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