CHICAGO – While DeMar DeRozan’s performances have been a big focus for Bulls’ fans during their first four games of the season, there is another player in the Bulls’ core who is off to a strong start.
That would be Nikola Vucevic, who joined some unique Bulls’ company during the victory over Celtics Monday at the United Center – doing so on his 32nd birthday.
Per Bulls public relations, the center became the seventh player in Bulls history to get at least 15 points, 20 rebounds, and five assists in a game. Vucevic finished with 18 points, 23 rebounds, and five assists in 31 minutes in the 120-102 victory at the United Center.
Here are the others in Bulls history to pull off the feat:
- Tom Boerwinkle
- Clifford Ray
- Artis Gilmore
- Mickey Johnson
- Charles Oakley
- Joakim Noah
Noah was the last to do so on January 20, 2014 against the Lakers at the United Center. That night, the forward had 17 points, 21 rebounds, and six assists in a 102-100 win Bulls victory.
In this second full season with the Bulls, Vucevic has started out the season averaging 18.3 points and 13 rebounds in the first four games of the season. That includes an average of 4.5 offensive rebounds, which would be a career-high if that total should hold.
He also had a big game against an Eastern Conference contender to open the season, scoring 15 points while getting 17 rebounds in the win over the Heat on October 19th.
Vucevic is entering the final year of his contract, which was initially signed when he was a member of the Magic before he was traded at the 2021 deadline to Chicago. He’s looking to return to the level of play he had when he was an All-Star in Orlando in 2019 and the season he joined the Bulls.
Monday night was a good start to that for Vucevic, who put himself in the Bulls’ history books on his birthday.