(670 The Score) With his Bulls sitting in first place in the Eastern Conference at 25-10 with the trade deadline just more than a month away, executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas has been thrilled with his team’s progress and is cognizant of not upsetting the strong chemistry his group has when looking to make any additions in the coming weeks.
“I like this group,” Karnisovas said on the Mully & Haugh Show on Thursday morning. “I like this group a lot. Like I said, we’re competing right now this season. It’s a new group, right? So teams that are close by (in the standings) like Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Philly, they’ve had their group for two or three years at least and we’ve had this group for three months. We’re still learning. We’re still adjusting, and I like this group a lot – the mental toughness. There’s a lot of games that we came back (in). We didn’t fold. But at the same time, we’re also open to any kind of possibilities and we’ll listen. However, like I said, I love this group of guys.”
The Bulls rank fourth in the NBA in offensive efficiency and 12th in defensive efficiency. Their recent eight-game winning streak that has vaulted them to the top of the East has been marked by hot shooting.
“Nobody expected us to be a defensive team, and we kind of started the year with tough defense, a tough mentality,” Karnisovas said. “For most of the year, we were in the top 10 in both offense and defense. The last eight games that we went 8-0, we were the No. 1 offense in the league, but our defense slipped. You know, for some obvious reasons – we were missing Lonzo (Ball) and we were missing Alex (Caruso) and Javonte (Green). And those guys are of a defensive mind. But I think we’d like to see how this group works together, and we’ve got to be really sensitive to any changes, if any, we will have. Like I said, these guys have a great locker room, a great vibe. They like each other. It’s a joy to watch what they’re doing on the floor. But of course, there’s room to improve as a group and I’m looking forward to watching them. There’s a cluster of the schedule coming up that’s really tough, and we’ll try to get through them.”
The Bulls host the Wizards on Friday evening. The game can be heard on 670 The Score, with pregame coverage starting at 6:45 p.m.