A Big Thank You, A Broken Roster, Coby White’s Future, and Other Bulls Bullets
Before I enter doom and gloom mode, I just want to say thank you.
Last night’s loss put a sad and droopy exclamation point on my fourth full season here at BN Bulls. I’m so appreciative of every single one of you who stops to read an article or like a social media post. As frustrating as it can be to obsess over this team, I’m beyond lucky to call this a job.
As I always say, my hope is to only improve as a writer and content creator. I like to think I’ve seen quite a bit of growth in those departments during my time here at Bleacher Nation, but I’m still nowhere near where I want to be. That’s honestly the thing I love most about a job like this, it always feels like you still have so much to learn.
Content will, of course, continue every day this offseason. I’m eager to see what the future holds for this organization. We’ll know a little bit more this afternoon with both Arturas Karnisovas and Billy Donovan set to speak.
- I have a lot of thoughts on this season, and I’m sure it’ll take me a couple of weeks to touch on all of those. Having said that, I didn’t want to hesitate to call this season what it was: A Disappointment. For more immediate thoughts on the state of the franchise, I encourage you to read the emotion-fueled post I wrote after last night’s loss:
- The post-All-Star break surge was fun. Unfortunately, I also found it to be pretty darn meaningless in the grand scheme of things. While it may have an impact on how the Bulls approach Coby White’s free agency or view the long-term value of Zach LaVine, it shouldn’t change the fact that this roster needs significant change. The end of last night’s game was a brutal reminder of how fundamentally flawed this team is. A group built around three offensive-minded All-Stars scored 1 point in the final 3:45 of action. In the 4th quarter as a whole, LaVine and Vucevic combined for 1 point as the Bulls shot 8-20 from the field.
- Chicago’s offense ranked 24th in the NBA this regular season. As much as I admire them for achieving a top-5 defensive rating in the NBA (for all those who bash Billy Donovan, it’s pretty nuts he turned a team with LaVine, DeRozan, and Vucevic into one of the league’s best defenses), this group was supposed to be founded on a lethal offensive core. This group validated all the concerns about whether the All-Star trio can play together. It’s now time to accept that and try something new.
- Shooting themselves in the foot was also a massive Bulls trend this year, and we also saw this in its peak form against Miami. The Heat shot just 41.0 percent from the field and won by double digits. Why? The Bulls sent them to the foul line 32 times compared to their 15. They were also outrebounded 51-37. While they were able to keep their turnovers relatively under control with just 11, the Bulls were still outscored on points off TOVs 13-6. It was another game where it came down to doing the little things, which is something the Bulls failed to do time and again this year.
- I also couldn’t help but question head coach Billy Donovan’s decision to take out Coby White with 2:17 to go. He had gone 3-4 from downtown in the frame and had the hot hand. Billy Donovan said after the game that he thought his team needed stops with Miami hitting back-to-back buckets to take the lead and thus opted for Beverley. I can understand where he is coming from a bit, but we watched Beverley brutally pass up a wide-open 3 on the next possession. Miami also proceeded to break out an 11-1 run to finish the game.
- Steph Noh posted a video talking about this decision. He brought up a good reason why Donovan may have opted for Beverley that revolved around White’s screening ability. At the end of the day, I don’t think this one decision cost the Bulls the game or anything. And hindsight is always 20/20, right?
- Speaking of White, though, the Bulls pretty much have to re-sign him now. He showed enough improvement on the defensive end and enough big-time shot-making down the stretch that makes a further investment feel worthwhile. I still don’t know if he is the starting point guard of the future or anything, but he’s just 23 years old and coming off one of the most productive seasons of his career. Those are the kind of players you want to keep around.
- ESPN’s Bobby Marks put it best: “It ain’t pretty, kids. Like, it ain’t pretty at all. The worst place to be on the treadmill of mediocrity, and Chicago is on that right now.” He broke down the Bulls’ offseason storylines to keep an eye on, and I highly recommend giving it a watch. They have to do something.
- In case you missed this awful news before the game last night: Diar DeRozan had to be escorted out of the Raptors’ arena due to severe online threats. NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson talked to DeMar about this situation, and his thoughts are worth a read:
- Will we get a Bucks-Suns rematch?
- In non-depressing Bulls news, yesterday was the 30-year anniversary of Don Calhoun hitting basically a full-court shot for $1 million at the old Chicago Stadium. ESPN’s Ryan Hockensmith wrote an excellent feature on the moment about how it changed sports contests forever. You can read that here.
- Bye, Ted.
- Two seasons end early. Yippie, Chicago sports!