Who were the Bulls best two players in the regular season? Joakim Noah and D.J. Augustin would be a common answer. What did these guys do in the playoffs? Virtually nothing.
Overall, the game was more of the same. Not enough energy, not enough luck, not enough shooting, and not enough critical rebounding.
It'd be easy to blame Carlos Boozer's pathetic play, but let's be honest, we've won with his pathetic play all season. It'd be easy to blame Hinrich, but he at least acquitted himself well in the last game, and sadly enough, shot the ball better than Augustin.
Butler and Dunleavy didn't play well over the course of the series either. Really the whole team played sub par except Taj Gibson, and I know I'm not the only one who said "this series is over" in their head the second he sprained his ankle.
However, the Bulls lost this series because Joakim Noah and D.J. Augustin couldn't replicate their regular season success. Both players had match ups that really couldn't be any worse for them.
Noah was matched up against a big physical player that he struggles to contain while Augustin was matched up against players with huge length/size advantages that still had enough quickness to stick with him.
Overall, Washington was simply too big, too strong, too fast, too good for Chicago, and the Bulls will have to sit back and think long and hard about where to go from here.
It's clear this team doesn't have the players who can create an offensive advantage in the playoffs. It's the same need that's needed to be addressed for a long time. That need stands out even more without Derrick Rose who'd at least give the Bulls one option to do that, but one isn't enough.
It'd be enough to get by the Wizards and probably enough to get by whomever they would have met in the second round, but probably not enough to get past Miami or half the teams in the West. After the past three seasons, we can't count on Rose. I'll hope for his health, but we simply can't even count on having that one guy.
Is Augustin's poor play a blessing in disguise?
Being reminded of D.J.'s weaknesses on a big national stage in the playoffs could work out for Chicago. First it probably reminds other NBA teams why they weren't incredibly excited about signing D.J. Augustin and will likely lower his price tag in the off-season.
Also, it let's the Bulls know that while Augustin might be a good offensive role player for them, a nice guy to have at the room exception, that he's clearly not the shot creator they need, at least not if he's the only one on the floor.
I think Augustin can be part of the future still, the Bulls need some guys who can dribble and shoot. Augustin can do both, and playing next to a healthy Rose would likely look a hell of a lot more dangerous. However, we got a real good look at the limitations.
We now have to digest an early out in the playoffs. Over the coming two months there will be plenty of draft coverage, free agent plan coverage, discussions of the present players and whether they should sty or go, and a complete break down of what the Bulls need to do this off-season.
You'll still get an article every day of the week.
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