Thoughts on Arturas Karnisovas' "Meh" Press Conference (and Other Bulls Bullets)

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Thoughts on Arturas Karnisovas’ “Meh” Press Conference (and Other Bulls Bullets)

Chicago Bulls

I never know how much stock to put into these end-of-season press conferences.

While it’s important to see how much accountability a front office might take for a season like the one the Bulls had, I’m not sure how forthcoming they are with the majority of their responses.

I think back to when Arturas Kranisovas suggested that keeping Lauri Markkanen was a priority … only to send him out for a Derrick Jones Jr. and a lottery-protected first-rounder. I also think about when he said at the end of last season that the Bulls needed to add 3-point shooting and rim protection … only for them to add neither.

Not only is everything subject to change when the offseason truly begins, but these public pressers are all about saving face and keeping things close to the vest. And we’ve learned that’s particularly true with this Bulls front office.

Not to mention, at the end of the day, action always speaks louder than words.

  • Speaking strictly to the accountability point, Karnisovas didn’t check all the boxes. While he made clear that dancing around a .500 record is unacceptable, he drew one too many positives from a season that was a blatant disappointment. More specifically, he praised the team’s post-All-Star break run and suggested that this surge has helped put them on the right track.

“We were very competitive,” Karnisovas said. “We wanted to be a tough out any time anybody is playing Chicago, especially when you come to this building. And that’s what the fanbase can ask for. Again, the result is not what we wanted, and we look like a .500 team. But the way we finished the season, I think we’re on the right path. And we’re going to have all this time in the postseason to sit down with the front office and coaching staff and figure out what needs to be improved moving forward.”

  • Take it from me: That’s not all the fanbase can ask for. Do you know what’s better than being a tough out? Winning basketball games. I don’t care how hard of a time the Bulls are giving opponents if they aren’t winning a majority of those games. This is especially true when we’re talking about a veteran-laden roster. If this was Oklahoma City Thunder – aka the second-youngest team in the league – I’d happily accept being nothing more than a tough out. But this Bulls roster is supposed to be far past that stage.
  • Also, I’m not going to say there is nothing positive that came out of the Bulls’ last month and a half of the season. But I’m also not going to let that dictate really any of my decision-making when it comes to fixing this team as a whole. The Bulls have already fallen into the trap of trusting small sample sizes. They trusted the first half of last year over the second half, which led to minimal activity in the offseason. Now, are they going to trust the second half of this year over the first half? That’s a remarkably dangerous and flawed game to play.
  • I cringed when Karnisovas spoke the following words: “Profile of the team, I would rather take this year’s [team] than last year’s where we were just beating up on bad teams. This year certain improvements were made and I’m happy to be competitive every game.” Yikes, dude.
  • Look, on one hand, I totally understand what he’s saying. The Bulls were far better against the East’s upper-echelon this year, and that’s preferred to the alternative. On the other hand, I’d rather take a six-seed and first-round series over a 10-seed and Play-In Tournament exit any day. Similar to my reaction to the “tough out” comment, I don’t care if the Bulls beat good teams if they continuously lose to bad ones and fail to make the postseason. Karnisovas is basically trying to sell us on moral victories. And, again, this roster is supposed to be past that stage.
  • To Karnisovas’ credit, he did reiterate numerous times that “everything” will be on the table when it comes to improving this team. Well … everything except a complete rebuild. And, uh, presumably everything except going over the tax.

  • I’m not trying to be a negative Nancy. I do believe Karnisovas sees that this version of the team doesn’t work and that change is inevitable over the next couple of months. But I’m not going to blindly follow this front office anymore. I need to see the adjustments made before my optimism can increase in any significant way.
  • With Lonzo Ball’s situation becoming increasingly grim, it’s hard not to express at least some concern about the long-term health of Zach LaVine’s knee. The max man was asked about that on Saturday, and he made his feelings about it pretty clear: “I’m always going to be on top of my rehab, my strength and conditioning, so nobody has to worry about that.” Those words came after LaVine said he felt like himself in the second half of the year, and I think we can all agree the stats and eye test back that up.
  • More specifically, LaVine tied for playing the second-most games of his career and most since the 2015-16 season. He also ranked behind only Anthony Edwards and Mikal Bridges, respectively, for the most minutes played in the NBA this season. Considering where things were at the beginning of the year with him, that’s a remarkably encouraging fact.
  • Anyway, I’ll have WAY more thoughts on everything that was said during the end-of-season press conferences over the next handful of days. With the season officially over, I got to spread out the content, folks!
  • I’ve always been a quiet De’Aaron Fox fan, so shoutout to him and the Kings for an awesome game last night. I’m so excited to watch that series play out.

  • I never thought I’d see the day!

  • This is remarkably impressive.

  • Don’t mind if I do!

  • Giving Pace credit!?

Author: Elias Schuster

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