Chicago Bulls tanking? The next week will decide

Chicago Bulls tanking?   The next week will decide

I've been an advocate of the Bulls missing the playoffs and getting the lottery pick. The weakness of the East means any team missing the playoffs is likely going to land a top 10 selection in the draft. In a deep draft like this grabbing a Paul George or Klay Thompson (both #10s) seems more likely than in a typical draft.

That said, whether the Bulls can accomplish the task of being bad enough may be proven out over the next week when the Bulls face a group of teams presently sitting along the bottom of the East.

The Bulls play five games in seven nights against some of the worst competition in the East. It kicks off tonight with the Milwaukee Bucks (4-16), followed by a game tomorrow in New York against the Knicks (5-14). The Bulls then play a road game against the Bucks on Friday, host the Raptors (the juggernaut of the group at 7-12) on Saturday, and the Magic (6-15) on Monday.

Seven days. Five teams. Collectively a 35% winning percentage the Bulls are going up against for five games. The Knicks would love to trade places with the Bulls in the standings and be 8-10, sadly, I'd love to trade places with them too since our management wasn't stupid enough to dump all of its long term picks away and could capitalize on that record.

When you look at how bad the East is, the Bulls are going to struggle to miss these playoffs, and they certainly aren't going at it with the zeal that I would. Chicago's best hope at missing the playoffs lays with the Nets and Knicks pulling their collective heads out of their ass because those teams have no benefit to losing.

Everyone was praising the Nets this summer, and I thought the Nets might have quite a team this year, but I noted that they were completely screwed in the long term. You think things are grim as a Bulls fan, imagine you were a Nets fan.

2014 1st: You get the worst of your pick, Indy's pick, and Atlanta's pick.
2015 1st: You get the worst of your pick or Atlanta's pick
2016 1st: Gone
2017 1st: You get the worst of your pick or Boston's pick
2018 1st: Gone

Effectively, locked out of quality first rounder for the next five years, no young talent, and a team that's among the worst in the NBA. Good luck Brooklyn.

The Bulls, meanwhile, may be down this year but have all the pieces to put it back together and become a great team again. For all the complaining about not making impact moves, Brooklyn proves why these "impact" moves can often lead to horrific results. The Nets made the type of splash many Bulls fans want, but put themselves in a position to be the worst team in the NBA with absolutely no hope whatsoever for the next half decade.

The Bulls have been far more conservative and while luck has gone against them in this run of Derrick's career, the team is still positioned to have significant influxes of new talent over the next few years. If they can understand this season is effectively over and make sure to land in the lottery and get a return on Deng, they'll be quite well positioned.

What happens in the next week will go a long way towards deciding that. If the Bulls win three of five games, it's going to push them back much closer to .500 and make it much tougher to fall out of things. If they drop four of five, they may or may not fall in the standings but as the schedule toughens they won't have picked up any ground in the softest part of the schedule.

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Tags: chicago bulls, nba, tank

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  • Where is Vinny Del Negro when you need him?

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    At least Vinny believes in making shots once in a while.

  • I'm nervous that they win 4 of 5 and get back on track.

    Brooklyn made a splash alright, but this summer's move was terrible! I live in Boston and Garnett and Pierce are so over-rated. Hell, Garnett rarely played for a longer stretch than 5 minutes last season. Pierce held it together longer than I thought he would, but last season finally trailed off. Brooklyn should have just signed free agents outright, instead of mortgaging the future on these two guys.

  • Unfortunately for Bulls fans, I don’t see them tanking. Reinsdorf wants his money from the playoff gate receipts, and Thibodeau wants to win. The Bulls could realistically have anywhere between 4 and 6 home playoff dates this Spring, and I believe that money goes to Reinsdorf.

  • In reply to RichG:

    The owners will make a whale of a lot more if the Bulls win a championship! Several teams have sacrificed a season and gained a decade of success for it. Of course, they drafted the right guys.

  • In reply to RichG:

    Yes, that's kind of short-sighted. Reinsdorf only owns a certain percentage and I bet he has far greater revenue streams to worry about the gate receipts of a few playoff games. He will eat steak either way.

  • In reply to RichG:

    Rein$dorf owns approximately 65% of the Bulls, and 50% of the UC. The Bulls and UC are by far his greatest revenue stream.

    Do players get extra salary for playoff games or are they included in their regular contract? Somehow I think the teams don't incur much extra salary expense during the playoffs, the playoffs are pretty much gravy! Extra millions of pure profit, ticket prices are higher, probably more TV money, etc.

    And we fans somehow think its about winning games. HA! It's all about winning at the bank...

  • In reply to Edward:

    But, Edward, If the Bulls play 12 to 15 home playoff games per season, obviously that is worth more just in ticket sales than 3 home playoff games, not to mention all the concessions and TV revenue and sales of Bulls shirts, caps, etc. So, isn't giving up 3 playoff games this season to perhaps get 12 home playoff games for years to come a good risk/reward from a business view?

    Plus it enhances the reputation of the owner(s) and makes millions of Chicago fans ecstatic. I think the owners want a champion!

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I'm just putting out the question of how finances work for the playoffs, because I don't know. I do not believe players get additional/increased salary for playoff games. But I don't know the exact numbers.

    I suspect that playoff games are very rewarding financially for the owners, more so than regular season games.

  • In reply to RichG:

    So Reinsdorf would rather get the gates from 2 -- 3 at most -- playoff games than win a championship?

    As long as we're slinging mud at Reinsdorf, I hear he abuses children and cheats on his tax returns.

  • We're talking about the draft and potential prospects to get us back into contention. Here's the thing for me, does Garpaxson realize the problem of this team? You've seen the Chicago Bears, who are a flawed organization but anyway they had a pretty crappy offense/line, so they went out and got two awesome wide recievers and a solid tight end. The Bears offense isn't the problem anymore but instead the aged defense has collapsed.......anyway, what I"m trying to say is the Bears tryed to address the issue and does Garpax realize that poor guard play......that includes organization favorite kirk hinrich is the prime reason for the Bulls losing many of these games. The bigs are scoring but they need outside shooting support and they're not getting it. Of course we need another star scorer but someone like nate robinson or kyle lowry makes more sense compared to kirk hinrich or d league teague. Let's see who the Bulls are targeting in trade talks, I've heard Austin Rivers who is unproven but a better prospect compared to Teague.

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  • In reply to emmettfmb554:

    What is this garbage doing on a sports blog site? You are disrespecting all the fans of this blog!

  • Love the picture, where did you find it. That should remain the picture for the year, irregardless of the track that the Bulls take.

    However, I don't think that it is an American tank. It is clearly not an M1 Abrams, nor does it look like a Bradley fighting vehicle(technically not a tank) or a striker. Anybody got an idea whose it is, maybe it belongs to the Marines, some kind of light amphibious tank.

  • As for actually tanking, it is starting to look like the east is so bad that if Butler and Deng return and stay healthy(along with Hinrich, Noah and Gibson) we could still compete for the 3rd seed, heck we might be considered the favorite. There is no clear cut leader in that race, every team is basically one injury from joining the tank ranks.

    You are right about the Knicks and Nets, we need them to get better and fast. The Knicks will be better when Chandler returns, and the Nets have to be better if Williams ever gets healthy and Lopez stays healthy. Then you have Atlanta, Detroit and Washington which still leaves us at 8th unless someone else emerges as a legit
    contender(whose left, Cleveland), we don't really want it to be the Bobcats, right.

    Personally, I don't see the bulls moving anybody, unless they get a deal for Deng that they consider a win for them. Doubt that they think that a non lottery 1st is a win for them. I even wonder if they would move the Hole in a pure salary dump.

    This is the crew we are stuck with for the rest of this season, and if Deng does indeed get offers next summer in the $10-12-14 million per range, then I think that he is gone.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I want to say "Long time reader, first time commenter," but I haven't even been reading all that long.

    Is it actually the case that we don't want the Bobcats to sneak in as the 8 seed in the East? Right now, number 9 in the East gets pick 9, while number 8 gets pick 15, which means that the Bobcats pick would stay protected if they don't make the playoffs. If a couple non-Bobcats teams in the East start playing better, that could change—in particular, number 9 in the East could slide down to pick 11+ in the draft, outside the protection on the Bobcats pick—but if that doesn't happen, would it be better to get pick 15 in this draft or wait for a later pick from a Bobcats team that received a top-10 pick in this draft? I'm guessing that getting pick 15 this year is more valuable to the Bulls than not getting the Bobcats pick this year, but I don't really know.

  • Aggrey Sam at CSN was speculating on eastern conference allstars, and he brought up Aaron Afflalo and DeMar Derozan as guys having career best years. As Bulls fans would you welcome either guy in a trade for Deng? I'd have to think about both, if either of their respective teams was looking to move them.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    hell yeah, we need better guard play and jimmy butler has been solid but the more we see from him, the more we realize that he's more a classic small forward despite his average arm length. Aflallo is playing out of his mind on a good contract, the Magic would want the charlotte pick instead and I don't know if I do that since its looking likw we need a semi longterm outlook/rebuild with Mirotic being the first centerpiece.

  • The TANK is still Alive!
    I mentioned a week ago that further injuries may take tanking out of the front office's hands. I wish nothing ill upon Bulls players, but by any means necessary...
    TANK HARD 2014 乒乓

  • 4 starters out 1 month into the season? Could the bulls actually be tanking spurs style? Sure seems like a lot, maybe they'll give all those guys the year off...

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