What’s that you hear? It’s the collective gasp of confusion and frustration from Chicago Bulls fans.
No, not all fans. Just the contingent that has been living with their head in the clouds — imagining a world where Nikola Mirotic played defense and the front office wasn’t as stubborn as Derrick Rose was frail.
Chicago Bulls fans, for their own benefit, should try to understand one thing very clearly: The Bulls are not a good basketball team. To be clear, ‘good’ in this instance refers to being an actual Eastern Conference contender.
It’s really that simple. They are a collection of frauds glued together by one player. Harsh? Perhaps. But I’m not going to apologize for pointing something out so blatantly clear that I feel dumb for having to do it.
Bulls fans need to wake up. When Tom Thibodeau was fired after winning 50 games in 2014-15; after taking the Bulls to the playoffs in each of his five seasons as head coach — it was the wrong move. Or at the very least, it wasn’t the move that needed to happen.
Sure, I easily justified Thibodeau’s firing in my head—stalled offense, stubborn personality, etc—but he was hardly the underlying problem with the Chicago Bulls’ inability to get over the hump.
Someone had to be the scapegoat for the Bulls’ repeated playoff failures. He became it.
Now, 19 games into the 2016 season, the Bulls look as bad as they did at their lowest point of any moment during any of Derrick Rose’s 15 injuries the past four years — leaving Bulls fans everywhere befuddled as to why.
That answer is also simple: Because these are the same problems from last year with just a different face roaming the sideline in a button up and blazer.
We talked about this after Thibodeau got fired. He may be gone, but the same boring front office is still in charge of making personnel decisions—now and in the future. And if you watch professional basketball even somewhat regularly, you would know that personnel is the most important part of winning championships.
Tom Thibodeau was a damn good basketball coach. I think Fred Hoiberg is going to be a good NBA coach, as well. But like Thibodeau, Hoiberg can’t take the Bulls to a level that requires the men in charge of building this team to grow a pair in the very near future.
This is still viewed as Derrick Rose’s team, but he’s nothing more than a $20M liability.
Joakim Noah is battered. I love Jo, but it’s time to move on.
Niko Mirotic doesn’t fit. Taj Gibson, who makes more money than Pau Gasol, is limited in his ability. The backup point guard situation is awful and only exacerbated by the fact that Rose plays like one most of the time anyways.
The writing has been on the wall for three years now. This is who the Chicago Bulls are, and it’s who they are going to be so long as the front office continues making personnel decisions that hamstring whatever coach they put in charge.
You thought opening up the offense would work, sure. That was the easy way out. But the problem is, the Chicago Bulls have no organizational identity. Ownership, coaching, personnel — they all have to be competent and in sync for the Bulls (or anybody) to win something that fans have been teased with since Thibodeau originally got here five years ago — Chicago’s first NBA title since the Michael Jordan days.
And until the Bulls have somebody in charge willing to wash the franchise’s hands of Derrick Rose – the first person who’s willing to say that being ‘Chicago’s Son’ only goes so far – fans will be left with nothing more than a pipe dream.