At Least This Losing Streak Increased the Bulls' Odds of Keeping Their First-Round Pick

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At Least This Losing Streak Increased the Bulls’ Odds of Keeping Their First-Round Pick…

Chicago Bulls

Is Arturas Karnisovas a stubborn executive or a quiet genius?

If the plan was for the Chicago Bulls to prove everyone wrong in the second half of the season and storm into the playoffs for an I-told-you-so-type run, then Karnisovas’s decision not to do anything at the trade deadline was extremely misguided.

If the plan was to let this roster continue to eat itself alive and put together a massive losing streak that would drastically improve the Bulls’ chances of keeping their first-round pick, then give Karnisovas Executive of the Year!

In all seriousness, there is a world where this currently disastrous end to the season for Chicago could turn out to be a blessing in disguise (though that doesn’t change the fact that they could have sold at the deadline, making this even easier). While I’m not at all advising anyone to get their hopes up, it simply is a fact that the Bulls have somewhat significantly increased their odds to land within the top 4 of this year’s draft lottery since the trade deadline.

Thanks to their sixth-consecutive loss on Thursday night, the Bulls fell below the Los Angeles Lakers in the league standings. They now have the 7th-worst record in the NBA, which means their odds of keeping this year’s first-round pick that otherwise belongs to Orlando has jumped from 26.3 percent to 32.0 percent. And that’s not nothing!

Even more noteworthy, the Bulls are just 2.0 games out from holding the league’s 5th-worst record, which would bump their odds all the way to 42.1 percent. Look, I’ve been more than willing to accept that this pick is basically a sunk cost, so I’m not going to be disappointed if the balls don’t land in the Bulls’ favor. But doesn’t it feel like the Bulls should be keeping a close eye on this number over the final few weeks of the season?

I mean, whether we’re looking at Basketball Reference’s algorithm (15%) or FiveThirtyEight’s (9%), the Bulls are far more likely to keep their pick than actually make it to a first-round series. And while I understand giving the No. 5 pick to the Orlando Magic might be absolutely gut-wrenching, we just have to accept that the Magic are likely getting a lottery pick no matter what. I’d rather still take my chances at making something out of nothing than ensure nothing. Does that make sense?

I don’t know. I’ve never been someone who likes to root for a team to lose, so I’m not necessarily going to be peeved if the Bulls don’t stay in this lottery position or continue to improve their odds (actually, I might be). But I do think it could very well be the smartest thing to do at this point.

Void some postseason experience for youngsters like Patrick Williams, Ayo Dosunmu, and Dalen Terry, what’s the point of circling the Play-In Tournament on the calendar right now? We all know this team isn’t equipped to produce a meaningful playoff run. Plus, it sure seems like drastic change could be coming in the offseason regardless of a Play-In appearance.

Whether it be two-way playmaking wing Amen Thompson or a high-upside catch-shoot scorer like Brandon Miller, there are going to be several intriguing names to target outside of Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson. Potentially landing one of these top 4 talents could completely change the trajectory of the Bulls’ franchise.

Author: Elias Schuster

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