A Good Coach Matters, Worst FA Signing of the Decade, Nets Doing Well, and Other Bulls Bullets

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A Good Coach Matters, Worst FA Signing of the Decade, Nets Doing Well, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Pretend you had a classroom filled with the best and brightest students – ones who do their homework, ask questions, study, and ace exams. Now, instead of a teacher, imagine every single day they sit there staring at a dog in a tie. And I’m not talking about some Air Bud quality dog that would somehow become an award-winning teacher. I’m talking about a slobbering, sleepy pug. While adorable, I’m going to have to imagine that when these students are tested and compared to other classes with more equipped teachers, they’ll no longer be the “best and the brightest.” The same goes for an NBA team.

A roster can’t reach its full potential without proper guidance. I mean, sure, the talent might be enough to keep things somewhat competitive, but at some point, a team will hit a wall. The teacher needs to be there to hand out assignments, help prepare for the test, and oversee the entire operation.

For example, we can say the Bucks are the best team in the league because they have Giannis Antetokounmpo, but do you think that’d still be the case if Jim Boylen was on the sideline? They probably still make the playoffs as a top-seed, but I’m not prepared to say they’d be No. 1. In other words, Mike Budenholzer won coach of the year for a reason.

•   Coaching matters and I probably don’t need to tell you that. While listening to the Bill Simmons Podcast yesterday, this discussion briefly came up. In the late 90s, the Lakers had Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal – two first-ballot HOFers – at the helm of their team. As the 4 seed in ’96-97, they lost 1-4 in the second round. As the 3 seed in ’97-98, they lost 0-4 in the WCF. As the 4 seed in ’98-99, they lost 0-4 in the second round. Then, during the 1999-2000 season, Phil Jackson joins the organization and wins a ring in his first season with the team … then another … then another. Shaq and Kobe may have been too young, and we all know (1) how good the Jazz were and (2) that they weren’t going to top the Bulls anyway, but certain coaches put a cap on what you can do. I just don’t think it’s a coincidence that Phil Jackson came in and this team found a way to three-peat.

•   We’ve seen some version of this story play out with Don Chaney to Rudy Tomjanovich, Rick Carlisle to Larry Brown, Mark Jackson to Steve Kerr, David Blatt to Tyronne Lue, and Dwane Casey to Nick Nurse. And all of those are just some championship examples. Of course, we all know this happens on a much smaller scale all the time. Coaches can act as a bridge to another level of success – Skiles to Del Negro to Thibodeau. The Chicago Bulls need to realize that it’s time to take things to the next level. I guess they thought they were doing that when they fired Hoiberg, but it’s become clear that Boylen isn’t a sturdy bridge. To salvage the young talent the Bulls have, this new front office must find a new leader. Learn from all these other teams in the past and realize it’s not the curriculum, it’s the teacher.


•   Bleacher Report labeled Dwyane Wade’s two-year $47 million contract as the Bulls’ worst free-agent signing of the past decade. Well, color me surprised. 

•   Guys, chill. While I want more Coby White and Zach LaVine in my life right now, the Bulls shouldn’t be in the bubble.

•   Any hope for a second bubble seems to be dead. The Athletic reported yesterday that there appears to be too many hurdles for the NBA to overcome. Not to mention, the lack of any clear incentive to have the players on the Delete Eight teams to take the court. The only hope now for these organizations would be that the NBA allows an extra training camp of some kind over the next couple of months.

•   Uh, the ragtag Brooklyn Nets are doing oddly well in the bubble.

•   Coby White is going to represent Chicago so well.

•   Allen Iverson and I aren’t on speaking terms.

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Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.