Bulls 2019-2020 Season Recap: Wendell Carter Jr.
Carter Jr.'s sophomore season was highlighted by a Rising Stars game selection despite carrying an injury.
Remind Me Later •
Bulls Season Highlights: Wendell Carter Jr.
|Season||Games Played||Minutes Per Game||Points||Rebounds||Blocks|
*65 game season
Second-year big man Wendell Carter Jr. continued to expand on what he showed Bulls fans he was in his rookie year: a solid, smart and reliable contributor on both ends of the floor, and a young piece that could make an impact on the franchise for years to come. Though he missed about seven weeks of action due to an ankle injury sustained in an early January game in Dallas, Carter Jr. otherwise was productive and began to find his voice as a leader in the locker room.
Foul trouble was still an issue for the former Duke standout, which kept his playing time low, but in just four more minutes per game he showcased marked improvement, statistically nearly averaging a double-double. Though not flashy, Carter Jr. garnered big respect among his peers both on the Bulls and around the league, culminating in being selected for the Rising Stars Game at All Star Weekend despite carrying an injury.
Let's take a look at a few of Carter Jr.'s standout performances this season:
OCTOBER 28, 2019 AT NEW YORK (KNICKS 105, BULLS 98)
Carter Jr. Stat Line: 20 points (7-9 FG; 6-7 FT), 10 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 assists, 1 steal
In this early-season road matchup at Madison Square Garden, the Bulls gave up a huge second half lead and froze up down the stretch in what was doubtless one of the most heartbreaking losses of the season. However, that was no fault of Carter Jr., who was the best player on the floor for the Bulls all night long and a major reason for the Bulls' lead in the first place. Carter Jr. was efficient and got buckets all over the court, grabbed 10 rebounds and anchored a defense that saw the Knicks miss 13 of their first 15 shots and held steady until the last half of the fourth quarter, when New York (led by former Bull Bobby Portis) rained threes in front of a raucous MSG crowd.
NOVEMBER 20, 2019 VS DETROIT (BULLS 109, PISTONS 89)
Carter Jr. Stat Line: 12 points (3-7 FG; 6-8 FT), 15 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block
In one of the Bulls' most complete performances of the season, the team broke open a close first half to blow out the Pistons largely on the strength of their defense and rebounding advantages. The game showed how a big man can make an impact without necessarily scoring, as Carter's impact of the game was truly felt on the boards and the defensive end. The Pistons finished the game shooting just 33% from the field, while the Bulls won the rebounding battle by 9 on the back of Carter Jr.'s ludicrous 15 rebounds, which included five offensive boards, all against Pistons big man Andre Drummond.
The Bulls took the big W on a night they honored the recently retired Luol Deng in arena, with plenty of familiar Bulls faces present to celebrate Deng (including on the other team, where former MVP Derrick Rose came off the bench for the Pistons).
DECEMBER 4, 2019 VS MEMPHIS (BULLS 106, GRIZZLIES 89)
Carter Jr. Stat Line: 16 points (5-8 FG; 6-8 FT), 13 rebounds, 4 blocks
In a strong home victory against a rising Grizzlies team, the Bulls took an early lead and held off a late Memphis rally with the help of Carter Jr.’s big performance, in which the big man did the dirty work and worked his way to 16 points, 13 rebounds and a season-high 4 blocks. Memphis, missing rookie Ja Morant, played their game through the inside, running much of their offense through Jonas Valanciunas and Jaren Jackson and keeping Carter working from tipoff to the final buzzer. Carter Jr. held his ground and did the little things to help his teammates prosper – all five Bulls starters scored in double figures, led by Zach LaVine’s 25 – and while Carter Jr.’s stats might not have led SportsCenter, the Bulls may not win this game without him.