Bulls have to earn the three seed through a tough schedule

Tough schedules are relative, but the Bulls have one of the toughest remaining schedules in the Eastern Conference. That said, a tough schedule in the East isn't exactly murderer's row. Still, to remain above .500, the Bulls will have win almost all the games their favored or pull some upsets.

Chicago has 12 games remaining against teams with less than a winning percentage of 45% while they play 11 against teams with a winning percentage over 55%. That doesn't sound so bad until looking at the schedule the Bulls have already played.

Chicago played 26 games against teams with a winning percentage less than 45% to this date and only 15 games against teams with a winning percentage over 55%. In other words, while the Bulls remaining schedule is actually fairly neutral. In the east, neutral is really, really hard relative to what the typical schedule is.

That said, the Bulls record in those games indicates that the upcoming schedule isn't so scary. The Bulls were 6-9 against those teams that were over 55% earlier this season. Meanwhile, Chicago was 16-10 against the teams under 45%. So Chicago won 40% of it's tough games and 61% of it's easy games.

A similar performance means the Bulls should float around .500 between their good and bad opponents, dropping as many gimmies as tough opponents they defeat. Also, they're definitely trending upwards. Many of the bad losses came earlier in the season right after Derrick Rose was hurt, and the team was suffering from mental let down and multiple injuries.

Chicago's turned over a better performance more recently. If the Bulls play reasonably close to form, their end result will really be decided by how well they play against the teams in the middle. If the Bulls beat more than their share of average teams, they'll have an excellent shot at competing for the three seed.

Bulls sign Jarvis Varnado to a 10 day contract

According to Yahoo Sports, Adrian Wojnarowski on twitter, the Bulls will sign Varnado to a 10 day contract.

Varnado is a 6'10 big man who was most recently playing in the D-League where he plays the role largely as a shot blocker. CSN had a cool line about him:

Varnado is the all-time leading shot blocker in Division I basketball history with 564 swats. He's one of two players with 1,000 career points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 blocks (David Robinson) in college basketball history.

Not bad. Don't expect Varnado to last more than 20 days though with the maximum off time between 10 day contracts.

Like Mark Deeks noted in his article on Gibson, the Bulls are concerned about the possibility of Gibson earning performances bonuses which can put them in the luxury tax.

Chicago will stay below the threshold even in the worst case scenario as long as they only sign 10 day contracts the rest of the year with the maximum time off between deals.

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  • Interesting article on the Bulls cap issues. So, without breaking out my calendar, it seems like the Bulls just squeak by under the tax by $22k if Gibson makes first team? This assumes the current 10-day contract, the one beginning March 9, and then one more. The article had a couple figures bungled up and was not summarized at the end.

    Maybe Gibson makes 2nd team all-D. But, first? There has to be 3 front-line guys ahead of him in the entire league.

  • In reply to Granby:

    It's highly unlikely he makes the first team, but I can't imagine the Bulls would take the risk to add a 13th man to the roster. There's so little upside to the extra body, and paying the tax by 10k, and then getting a repeater penalty is a huge downside.

  • Heard Thibs on The Score yesterday morning. He was clearly really disappointed by the trade of Deng, saying that while it's rare to see a player spend his whole career with one team, he felt Deng could have been that player, and that he embodied everything about the Bulls, playing both sides of the ball, being great off the court, etc. Of course, he left out that that included being limited offensively and unable to create his own shot, traits which embody these Bulls as well as all the other positive things he does.

    He was very evasive about the "are you going to be here long term?" question. He said, "I want to be here" but also said, "You never know".

    Thibs has his shortcomings but he's probably a top-3 NBA head coach, if they ever were to lose him, chances are very very high that they'd replace him with a worse coach.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Thibs' shortcomings are few and far between.

    Seriously, the things we complain about are lower tiered stuff. (like playing time and offense) I think some of it is the players, too.

    Bottom line: We overachieve every year. We just win. Period.

  • The Bulls are last in the league in ppg and 28th in offensive rating shooting .425 as a team. And then you have Thibs who to me despite being a defensive savant, is a doltish annoyance. So is it worth suffering through games to watch Jo and Taj play? Not for me, but then that's a lot to do with being busy watching college prospects and their team's play which I like a lot. College teams without such prospects/talents, no thanks.

    Tony Snell, Jimmy Butler, Marcus Teague, I admit taking guys like that who are not offensive producers doesn't help matters any. Whether Tim Hardaway, Norris Cole etc. would have been better choices is really a moot point now.

    People that want to watch the Bulls and see them get the three seed or win a playoff series that's fine. Myself, I'd like them to lose enough to move them up a couple of spots from 19 to 17 or higher. And get the Charlotte pick at 15 where it's now projected. If it wasn't a talent laden draft like it is I'd take the playoff series win.

    As for adding offensive talent, do I have confidence Gar/Pax will select such talents? No. Might they? I guess it's possible, but I'd be surprised based on their recent track record..

    Right now looks like one of Kyle Anderson or T.J Warren will be available at 15. I get that Warren shoots 28% from three, but his upside and prolific scoring with a solid background and personality, I'm buying. Joseph Young(not on boards yet) and Shabazz Napier are underrated in mocks now, but so was Marcus Thornton who has had four good years in the league for a second round pick. Getting either of those guys particularity Napier would be a great move IMO. And don't bother telling me about NEED. Need is for idiots. I want offensive talent(along with a well rounded player). Period.

    If the Bulls shocked me and drafted guys I actually liked as opposed to Jimmy Butler, Teague, and Snell who all made me... not real happy, adding a Kyle Anderson or T.J. Warren, along with a Joseph Young or Shabazz Napier, and you bring back a healthy D-Rose with Jo and Taj. Yeah, I'd watch every game the next two seasons as they would likely be fun on offense which is what NBA entertainment is all about and defense as a necessity there's your Thibs payoff.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Also besides offensive talent and well rounded, these guys I narrowed ti down to are very good competitors and appear like good guys to be a part of a team and around other players which is huge

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    "If the Bulls shocked me and drafted guys I actually liked as opposed to Jimmy Butler, Teague, and Snell who all made me... not real happy"

    As we all know the entire world, not just the Bulls exist only to make you really happy. Geez, get over yourself and your delusion that you are more intelligent than everyone else on the planet, nevermind just this blog.

    It is also a real tragedy that you find Thibs to be a "doltish annoyance", how dare the Bulls continue to employ someone that you hold in such contempt. Of course you probably need to look up the complete meaning of doltish, because it applies far more accurately to you than it does to Thibs.

    and if your such an expert on college basketball why don't you show us your perfect NCAA brackets every year. Hey this year you can even make a billion dollars off of Warren Buffet, whom I am sure that you think you are a better investor than.

    You do however, need to change your screen name. Basement Warrior would be far more accurate, since this must be where you watch every single NCAA game while trolling the internet for people to attack. Being a roadwarrior would actually require going out into the real world, where if you behaved as you do on this blog you would either be dead or in jail.

    Keep up the ranting and ad hominem attacks on everything and everyone that doesn't see the basketball world as you do. I'd say that it is comical, but really it is more of a tragic commentary on the decline of our society in this age of the internet coward/bully, which you epitomize.

    By the way nice of you to address the topic that Doug put forth today. Ooops, as usual, that didn't happen, you just went off on your own rant. Maybe you should move to a small town in backwater USA and start your own blog.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Nothing in my post or any other post attacks anyone. What I do is respond occasionally to you and the other over reactionary d-bags who lob on with condescending, misinterpreting, spaz negative responses. You're the guy who referred to Boozer as cunthole and Schlitz Malt Liquor for black players. You're copying my mom and basement disses because you can't think of your own. It's sad that you now have a hard on for my comments as they have no mention of you but your so "hurt" that now you are on a chaser mission because you have nothing better to do. Very pathetic. You're a joke.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Snell and Teague were both offensive oriented draft prospects. Jimmy Butler was the one defensive oriented prospect.

    However, in either situation it's not like there were a bunch of offensive studs sitting there waiting for us to grab instead.

  • Also, the comments about how the Bulls "just win" in regards to Thibs as in pretending the playoffs don't exist i.e Bulls team and player percentages under him SUCK is simplistic at best. Their lone "run" the offense, blaming the lack of offensive talent yes, but still coaches bear at least some responsibility, they both as players and as a team just absolutely sucked. Thibs is not a developer of players and team chemistry offensively IMO. H'e s somewhat of a social simpleton and there's a reason he was an assistant for thirty years or whatever which almost no successful champion head coach has that kind of background.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    You can have your opinion on Thibs, but I've seen you use the argument about how it took so long for him to be a head coach so he can't be that good (or whatever you are implying), but I think it is meaningless. Coach Pop is an example of a similar career path. Pop started as an assistant in 73 and didn't become an NBA head coach until 96 when he named himself to the position. His only head coaching experience was with a Division III school for about five years or so. Also, Thibs followed Van Gundy for about ten years and then was in a championship situation in Boston (where he did have offers). I don't know this for sure, but maybe he had offers from a crappy team but decided to stay loyal to his coach (Van Gundy) or to be with a championship contender in Boston. If you were an assistant with the Thunder, would you leave if Philly or Cleveland called right now?
    I'm assuming that (I don't want to put words in your mouth) you want Thibs fired. If that is the case, who do you want to replace him? What assistant or out of work coach do you believe is better than Thibs? I don't think the Bulls will buy anyone away from another team.
    The argument that he doesn't develop players is a joke aswell. Rose wins the MVP. Noah goes from being a junk player that is suspended by his teammates to a two time all-star. Gibson is a late first round after thought that becomes a guy that could start for many teams in the league and has the Bulls worrying about performance bonuses. Butler is another late first rounder that is as solid a performer as you could ever hope for. And who knows who he helped develop in Boston, Houston, New York, Golden State, or Minnesota?
    You can have your opinion on Thibs, but everyone else is allowed to think the opposite.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    Popovich's first head coaching job occurred in 1979. Most coaches start way earlier then Thibs. Thanks for taking the Don Cornholio route and picking the one exception just to rebuff someone with a exception that actually proves the rule.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    Learn your lesson and ignore the smarter-than-you hater! :)

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    How do the playoff percentages under Thibs suck? He's won three series and lost three series in the playoffs. Two of those losses came without Derrick Rose (obviously).

    Moreover, if you look at how the Bulls were viewed, I don't think the Bulls ever lost a playoff series anyone expected them to win under Thibs (no one thought they'd win after Noah and Rose went down against Philly).

    And they've won one that everyone thought they'd lose against the Nets last year.

    Not saying he's a playoff genius, but his playoff resume isn't a negative.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I said the Bulls team and player percentages meaning shooting percentages and they do suck.

  • I believe 14 days is the maximum time a roster can stay at 12 players, so this will be Bulls cycle.
    - 14 days with 12 man roster (since Cartier Martin was released).
    - 10-day contract bringing roster to league minimum 13 (Jarvis Varnado signing).
    - don't renew Jarvis Varnado's 10-day contract and again spend 14 days with 12 man roster.
    - at end of 14 day period, sign another 10-day contract with anybody.

    REPEAT until end of season.

    As I've detailed in the past, Bulls as in no danger of paying the repeater tax this season or even next season.
    But by avoiding the luxury tax this season, they avoid any potential for repeater tax for years, thereby allowing Bulls the flexibility to be a luxury tax payer for several years in the future (Mirotic Era) without fear of the repeater tax.

  • In reply to Edward:

    You are definitely correct. They do need to stretch it out like you describe in order to avoid a possible bonus to Gibson, but the bonus is highly, highly unlikely.

    The stretching it is really just a safety measure and guarantees they won't pay the tax, but it also means we'll just stick to 10 day contracts rather than signing someone for a season end contract.

    For that reason, I also question whether anyone on a 10 day really gets much of a chance, since the Bulls know they won't be able to keep him, they won't really want to see a guy do well and then have to let him go.

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