To their credit, the Chicago Bulls haven’t shied away from talking about their problems. To the opposite … there has been a lot of problems.
When the team was in the thick of a disastrous 11-18 start to the year, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the players had held multiple “team meetings” to try to right the ship. This included several one-on-one sit-downs between Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan.
Let’s also not forget the apparent blow-up inside the Bulls’ locker room during the team’s 150-126 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The players reportedly confronted LaVine about his lackluster performance, ultimately sparking an 11-7 stretch to help the Bulls re-enter the Play-In Tournament picture.
So, yeah, confrontation has been part of this season, which is why it wasn’t too surprising to hear The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry report the Bulls held *another* team meeting on Tuesday night.
Despite playing a Pacer team that had lost seven straight and was without their best player, Tyrese Haliburton, the Bulls blew a 21-point lead and lost. A win would have given them their first four-game winning streak of the season and helped them leap over the Pacers and into the East’s No. 9 seed. It was just another failed opportunity to add to the long list of such this season. But at least they had a team meeting, right?
Again, it’s good to see the team condemn their poor play and communicate about how they need to perform better. What worries me, though, is that they have apparently held many of these meetings and yet nights like last night have continued to happen. Nikola Vucevic’s words about this most recent discussion also weren’t the most comforting:
“Honestly, there’s not much to be said,” Vucevic told Mayberry. “There’s nothing you can say. It’s just a lot of frustration. We did all the talking. So we’ve just got to do it or this is where we’re going to be.”
I understand if Vucevic doesn’t want to rehash what was addressed in the meeting. It’s his right to keep those things private. But there is a difference between “doing all the talking” and saying the right things. How can we trust the message has finally gotten across to everyone this time around?
If anything, the fact that the Bulls have to continue to do this much talking only underscores how many problems they have to address. And I have a hard time believing that words are going to fix those problems.