I said early in the year that the Bulls couldn't coast through the schedule at the end of the year like they typically do. They needed to perform better early because making it up on the back 9 wouldn't be as easy in years past. Boy is that proving out true. Could things have really gone much worse?
Derrick Rose was very good on offense again, but the Bulls had nothing else, especially in the second half. Without Joakim Noah (and possibly Tyrus/Salmons becoming Flip/Hakim), the Bulls can't seem to defend a rock. They're giving up extremely efficient scoring all game long to every opponent.
Things aren't going to get easier either. Things especially fell apart once Luol Deng was injured, and Deng may not join the team on the trip to Orlando as he has an MRI on his calf. Luol is the Bulls best remaining defender, and the defense threatens to go from suck to blow if he misses any stretch of time.
If you're stretching for some positives, and boy, do you need to stretch, the one thing that could be said about the Bulls right now is that their best players, by far, also coincide with the only players on the roster who are locked in long term. They're locked into Joakim, Rose, and Deng who are the primary players making things go in a positive fashion.
Still, this game is ugly. If the season were to end today, the Bulls would swap the 11th pick of the draft with the 17th pick in the draft while missing the playoffs. John Salmons would likely opt out of his contract, and the Bucks fans will laugh their asses off at us all summer long for giving them a trade up in the 1st round, two 2nd rounders, and the player who drove them into the playoffs ahead of us just so we could end up in the same cap position we would have ended up anyway.
The only possible way to prevent this scenario is to beat out Charlotte for the playoffs [boy does that look unlikely right now] or to completely fall in the crapper and not win a game the rest of the season [even then we may not be bad enough to beat out the Clippers for 10th in the lotto standings].
More or less, we have entered into the zone of maximum pain. I can't rip on the trades at the deadline. They needed to be done to ensure 2010 flexibility, but I outlined a worst case scenario that could happen, and the Bulls are about to live it.