Bulls Obituary: This Season Was A Complete Failure

Bulls Obituary: This Season Was A Complete Failure

The 2015-2016 season effectively ended with last Saturday’s tough loss to the Detroit Pistons. If the mishmash of D-Leaguer Grizzlies euthanizing the Bulls wasn't enough, last nights meltdown against the Heat certainly closed the playoff door on the Bulls, who, for the first time since 2008, will be sent packing before the playoffs even begin.

With it, the era of the Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Tom Thibodeau Bulls will finally die. Despite the new coach and Jimmy Butler going supernova at times -- 40 point half against Toronto, 53 point game against Philadelphia (yes, it counts) and last Saturday’s 28-17-12-3-2 against Detroit -- the Bulls were a sluggish, deteriorated, pathetic version of those same old Bulls. Once a source of inspiration, excitement, and hope, this failed season has left them as a cluster of parts that will likely have to be sold off this summer.

In retrospect, this team never really had a chance. For the Nth straight year, they were hyped as the only competitor to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the East’s top spot, if only they remained healthy. But when a team quits on itself the way this one did last season, it’s nearly impossible to overcome those broken relationships. Bringing in Hoiberg in favor of Thibodeau never even had a realistic chance to solve the pervasive, defeatist attitude. Obviously, the Bulls were pillaged by the injury epidemic this season, but that’s an easy cop out to why this season is the greatest failure in recent Bulls history.


Streakiness and Inconsistency

All year, the Bulls displayed zero ability to bounce back from a bad loss, always letting themselves slide into series of progressively more depressing ones. Perhaps best highlighted by the recent 3 game winning streak to keep hopes alive, followed by a 4 game losing streak to the Knicks (twice), Magic and Hawks, the Bulls season has been littered with the “maybe we got this” 7-point wins, followed by a series of “we’re doomed, blow it up, I hate you GarPax” 15-point losses. This streakiness is the product of the lack of mental toughness and leadership with this group, and it wreaks of mediocrity.

Here’s a chart of the Bulls game log. As you can see, they tend to win some, lose a few more, pick a couple up, and boom, back down to .500.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 10.23.28 PM


That's a lot of up and down.

The inability to stay consistent and bounce back from losses speaks to the lack of mental toughness and leadership within this group. There is no doubt this roster has talent, even if they all under-performed. Maybe they thought they’d make the playoffs all along, and once they did, they’d flip the switch and become the title contender they were supposed to be. The Bulls had ample opportunity to spark a resurgence, and it never happened. Worse, every time you thought they might get back in the race, they'd drop 3 or 4 in a row.

Maybe the talent didn't fit, maybe it was the injuries or the coaching change or maybe these players are just done playing together.


The Thibodeau Hangover

Fans still have pangs for Thibodeau, insisting that no team would under-perform so egregiously under his leadership. During his tenure, Thibodeau lived his mantra, “we have more than enough to win,” and he got his players to believe it too.  Thibodeau is a better coach than Hoiberg. But firing Thibodeau was still the right thing to do, at that time, given the circumstances. Things soured to a disturbing end once the front office had enough of him. Critiquing him for overusing his players, for his 'bland' offensive and generally not getting to the Finals, which were the expectations. The Thibs era needed to end. Even some of the players expressed their developing distaste for his harping ways.

Yet, here we are, in the Bulls era of rest, pace and space and analytics, Jimmy Butler is still out here playing the third most minutes per game. The Bulls are going to miss the playoffs for the first time in 8 years. Even Vinny Del Negro managed not to do that. So yes, Hoiberg has been underwhelming this year. But it’s not completely his fault.

This team does not match his system. Maybe the elite coaches can overcome that, but management overlooked the roster flaws and tried to give it one more run. Too many players were either old, injury-prone and past their prime, or too young, inconsistent and defensively incompetent. Even if last year felt like it should have been the end of an era, this year has to be. There are no more excuses.

In a Kerr-lite move, Hoiberg tried benching Noah to start the season, which did not help the Bulls in their general aim for continuity. Despite playing one of his worst seasons the year prior, Noah was still the heart, the voice, the engine -- whatever metaphor you choose -- he was what gave this team order, stability and purpose. But when Noah stopped playing well, he lost his credibility to take charge and keep the troops in line. Even though he looked closer to normal before his season-ending shoulder injury, at that point, the damage was done. And the rest of the team seemed to be put off by his benching, despite it making sense from a basketball standpoint, especially given the constraint of Gasol having to start.

Perhaps recency bias has clouded our collective memory, but the Bulls quit on Thibodeau last year, most excruciatingly after the LeBron James game 4 buzzer beater in the Conference Semi-Finals. The relationship between Thibodeau and the front office was beyond salvageable. Yes, Thibodeau is a great coach, but when his firing became imminent, the players quit. Once they quit on Thibodeau, they quit on themselves. They quit on the chance to win with this core and no coach was going to revive them.


Hoiball Never Worked

When Thibs got canned, the Bulls hired their longtime rumored successor, Fred Hoiberg.  Hoiberg's ties with Gar Forman dates back to their time together at Iowa State, where Hoiberg played under Forman during his tenure as an assistant coach. Despite the quasi-nepotism, Hoiberg was a very successful coach at the college level and was expected to administer a healthy dose of offensive ingenuity into the crumbling, drought-stricken Bulls offense.

Obviously, the transition was not going to be as seamless as the Warriors, with their addition of Steve Kerr. It couldn’t possibly. But if the Bulls could incorporate some semblance of a modern, ball moving, floor spacing, fast paced attack, it would work wonders for a team who for 5 years had to rely on holding teams to 90 points in order to win.

As it turned out, the Bulls would have no such luck.

From the start, no one seemed to buy into the Hoiberg system. After missing training camp with the orbital fracture, Derrick Rose couldn't learn the system the right way by the time he returned to the lineup to start the season (despite not being able to see). Instead of the transition game being a primary initiator of the offense, Hoiberg had to beg Rose to get the ball past half court before the 21 second mark on the shot clock. Jimmy Butler was even worse when he would bring the ball up, sometimes having to scramble to get across half court before the 8 second violation.

20 seconds left, down 4, and you’re going to walk it up the floor?

Sure, Butler's excess minutes would suggest he should try to retain energy, but if you're not moving the ball up the floor here, it just isn't happening. After this particular game, Hoiberg alluded to the lack of urgency in the post-game presser, expressing his affinity to wanting to move the ball, especially against a tired team on the second of a back-to-back.


Hoiberg mentioned it multiple times at the postgame presser, but the pace killed the Bulls tonight. They had to run on a tired DET team

— Stephen Noh (@hungarianjordan) April 3, 2016


As such, the Bulls got absolutely nothing in transition. Per Synergy, they rank last in the league in transition PPP (0.983) and 23rd in transition frequency (only 11.8% of possessions). These numbers are virtually identical to last season (slightly better in transition PPP, ranking 23rd at 1.076 and 24th in frequency at 11.9%), but notably, they converted at a higher clip last year. The fact that they put forth so little effort to push the ball is a testament to the fact that the team didn’t buy in.

The Bulls took their time this year, and cared progressively less as the season wore on. There was no urgency, and that was painfully evident on all ends of the floor. Fault the players for not buying in or Hoiberg for not getting them to, but ranking last in transition is the absolutely perfect example of the complete failure that was this season.


Thibodeau’s Defense No More

Along with Hoiberg, the Bulls brought in defensive guru Jim Boylen to maintain the defense that Thibodeau had built. The hope was that the Bulls defense would remain as grizzly and disciplined as it was under Thibodeau; since the personnel remained the same, they should easily be able to repeat what had so brutally been branded into their muscle memory. In conjunction with an offense primed for a much-needed makeover, the Bulls should have become a top-5 offense and defense, right? At least that was the vision.

The big problem was the lack of communication. With Thibodeau, he was virtually doing the communicating for every player. But more importantly, everyone always knew his job. ICE, ICE, ICE all the live long day. They had their responsibility and they knew what they needed to do to execute it, and they did or they wouldn’t have a spot in the rotation. Without that demanding overtone constantly chirping in their ears, they couldn’t muster the willpower to execute. And can you blame them? Being ridden to execute for 5 years is exhausting. It's like they put on the freshman 15 after leaving home for college.

The Bulls Pick and Roll defense was also a complete disaster this year. Even though they ranked 12th in Ball-handler P&R defense (allowing 0.821 PPP per Synergy, far better than last year, but far worse than all previous Thibodeau seasons), they were 24th in Roll-man P&R defense (0.968 PPP allowed, Synergy) which should give you an idea of how good the back end was without a spry, healthy Noah defending the rim.

Sure, Gasol tallied a couple blocks per game, and Taj Gibson fortified what little remained from the glory days, but the Bulls couldn’t handle any pick and roll - the cornerstone of the modern NBA offense.

Teams began to expose the Bulls, running them into pick and roll after pick and roll, and it took a toll. Using holistic, season long standards, the Bulls ranked fine in most defensive metrics, but the exponential decline month-to-month displays the decreasing level of attention and effort as the season progressed.

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 12.45.02 PM

Sometimes they would switch, sometimes they would ICE, sometimes trap -- it looked like they were just doing whatever they pleased, or just gave up trying to communicate with one another.

This is not a jab at Boylen or Hoiberg. In the modern NBA, ICEing is still very effective. But it really helps to be able to throw different looks at an offense. Think about the best pick and roll combo in the game, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. There’s no way you beat them by doing the same thing over and over again. As a matter of fact, teams have had great success trapping or switching. You need to mix it up to put pressure on them into making mistakes. If you run the same coverage over and over, they will break it down.

But with a greater amount of defensive movement and responsibility, the Bulls became confused. They lost interest and quickly turned from stalwart to sieve.

Even still, that Bulls integrity began to degrade while Thibodeau was still at the helm. Counter-factually, had Thibodeau remained another season, the same defensive breakdowns would likely have occurred. This is a group, without the motivation, was unable to compete at a high level. Their laziness and unwillingness to try to put together a winning season was the reason for failure.

Hoiberg certainly underwhelmed. His shortcomings were accentuated by his inability to implement his patented "Hoiball" offense and maintaining the Thibodeau defense. He failed to make adjustments, plug and play the right players at the right time, develop the young guys or get the most out of any of his players. There weren't any areas that he had unquestionable success. But given the circumstances, it's unfair to blame him completely. He will have another go around next year, but with a different cast to give him a chance to prove himself as a legitimate NBA coach that can bring the Bulls back to relevance.


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  • Complete failure? What would you call Philadelphia's then?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Given the context. The Bulls had expectations for themselves to make the Eastern Conference Finals. They're going to miss the playoffs altogether. The Sixers were trying to tank for a high draft pick, they're following through with their plan. Different context.

  • In reply to Will Gottlieb:

    Trying to tank? Sounds a bit Black-Soxish.

  • In reply to Will Gottlieb:

    The only other team that failed as badly as the Bulls did would be the Rockets. As usual the end of the Gasol era ends in a steaming pile of shit. I guess that one of us has been right from day one, and some else has finally shut the fuck up because even he can't argue that a pile of stats is worth shit watching this team disintegrate over the past 2 years, precisely as I predicted over a year ago. Just check out BAB to see how the fans have reacted, precisely as I predicted over a year ago. It really doesn't suck being proved right all the time by the results on the floor about weakass, phony, piece of shit players like the Bozohole and the Krispy Kreme Pansey. Got to love Gullivers hilariously hypocritical locker room laywer comments after every game, jsut as I'm sure his teammates love listening to him rag on them after every made basket that he just stood there and watched happen. Unfortunately, even with his departure, we're still stuck with nearly as cancerous weakass meat leftovers in Rose and Niko the Euroweasle, unless the Bulls front office grows a pair and trades them both before anyone realizes that they're being fleeced.

    It is absolutely time to blow this entire thing up. Hopefully, this seasons utter collapse wakes up the slumbering bozo's in the FO.

  • Fundamentally, it is a lack of talent. Take the average talent of the top 4 teams in the league, since that is the level a team aspires to, and compare that to the Bulls position by position. Gasol compares well, but unfortunately at a position that has been devalued over time. Butler grades out reasonably well, though I still would prefer Leonard and Thompson over Butler. Small forward is a joke. Power forward only slightly better. Rose, pre-injury, would have graded out well, but no longer. The Bulls bench is nothing special.

    We had always hoped the Bulls were "only one piece away", but it has become abundantly clear that unless that piece is LBJ it is a pipe dream. The Bulls have a long road ahead to upgrade their talent level.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    Amen, now that was quite a sermon!

  • In reply to penwit1:

    LeBron could get the Bulls into the playoffs but not to the ECF. Way too old, too many injuries, and too little focus! Plus M and M bombed in a lot of games.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Really? LeBron carried a crap Cavs team decimated by injuries to the finals all by himself just last year... Jimmy, Rose and Gasol plus LBJ would fly to the finals. LeBron is a complete beast.

  • I said this at the start of the season. But what was to be expected when you brought back the exact same team (sans Portis for Nazr) who quit in the playoffs? And stop with the "unfair to blame" Hoiberg bullshit. He was a complete incompetent. The main job of any coach is to get the most out of your talent. He failed big time at this in addition to being a door mat.

    4 years left on his contract, but I don't see how you bring Hoiberg back and expect to have any credibility. Rose has to go for being weird and selfish. Butler has to go for being weird and full of himself. Gasol and Mirotic have to go for being Eurosoft. Noah has to go for being a zero on offense. McDermott has to go for being slow and unathletic. Dunleavy has to go for being old and creaky. Brooks has to go for being a ball hog. Bairstow has to go for being Australian. And Tony Snell has to go for being Tony Snell.

    And of course at the top of list is GarPax who constructed this monstrosity. How many years can these goofs keep going and going without winning a championship? It's time that Jerry Reinsdorf stop showing his loyality to his employees and to show it to the fans. That is if anyone can bother to wake him up in his Arizona winter home.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:


  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    On point !....everyone seems to tip-toe around the subject of Hoiberg, who IMo was and will continue to be ineffective.He is NOT an NBA coach. It may have done him some good to spend a few years as an NBA assistant coach. Much is made of his 10+ years as a player but then there have been so many former NBA players who attempted to coach and were total busts!

  • But, we fans remain optimistic--the Bulls will have a great lottery and have 2 high lottery picks--the second will be complete ownership of the Sacramento pick--and this will start a dynasty. We may need a new coach that matches the general skill set of all the players.

  • When asked to comment on the Bulls' season on 4/8/16, one ex-NBA coach said "of course Butler has been terrific all season, as has Gasol." What ex-NBA coach said this? Answer- Tom Thibodeau.

    Of course, our resident ignorant poster (let's call him "Bobby") lays all the blame on the "Gasol era." Well, here is a newsflash, Jimmy and Pau were the only starters on the team who were above average NBA players. (Actually, they were all-star level players.) Niko, Dunleavy and Rose were below average NBA players and most, if not all, metrics support this. When Taj started he was about average.

    You can't expect to be contenders in the NBA when you only have two players who are consistent and excellent. As to Pau, why is it that a couple of weeks ago two other notable ex-NBA coaches who stressed defense (Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy) were praising Gasol's play throughout an entire game?

    If people want to believe in fairy tales instead of facts that is their prerogative. But the facts show, supported by just about every basketball metric available, that Pau helped the Bulls win more games than not.

  • The moment Rose had his initial injury so many years ago was the beginning to the end. Hard to have great direction when your best player (then, not now) was either not on the floor or moments away from another injury.

    I hope management finally blows this up. I prefer to keep Butler, Portis, McD but thats about it. You can say what you want about McD but he is still cheap and is very good at what he is suppose to do. put him in a better system with better players and (like Redick) he would be very dangerous.

    Comparing the Bulls situation to the Sixers there is no comparison IMO. I would rather be the Sixers. Couple young talented Bigs, ton of cap space and a few top Draft picks. Bulls are a complete overhaul.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    totally agree about McD. One of the league's elite shooters and he's young and cheap. Portis is young and cheap. Both have offensive game and it's easier to develop into better defenders.

    I have always loved Butler, but he holds the ball so long and may not be a great fit for Hoiball. If we can dump Rose and get better shooters around Butler, I'm all for keeping him. (Perhaps sign Harrison Barnes to, gulp, max, who is still very young and a solid 2-way player and then sign Conley for a steady PG)

  • After seeing what Felicio has been giving us lately, with even Hoiberg finally realizing that he is totally outplaying Mr got to get my empty stats no mater what, I'd be perfectly happy to go into next season with Noah and Felicio splitting the center position, in fact I could live with that for another couple of seasons. Those guys give you what you want and need from the modern center position, defensive activity and intensity and team rebounding. Obviously, Noah's health makes bringing him back a big risk, however, unless we go all in on a different kind of major risk like Whiteside, trying to bring Noah back on a team friendly deal, whatever that is in the upcoming new market might just be the best option available. Get rid of all the physically inept, mentally weak, malcontent defensive sieves, build an interior defense and a guard and wing based dribble drive penetration and 3 point shooting offense. Say goodbye to Rose, Gasol, Dunleavy, Niko, Snell, Brooks, Bairstow.

    Check out Friedels article on ESPN today "Christiano Felicio's performance makes front office decision look even worse" by not trading Gasol at the deadline when there was a very good deal offered by an even more desperate and stupid team than the Bulls. FYI. the other night when Gulliver was "giving" us 5&4 against the Knicks, Koufos starting with Cousins out put up 15 &15

    Heck, just look at the stats from last night, the Bulls starters got their asses kicked up and down the court in both the first and third quarters while the second unit made up the deficit and created a lead in both halfs, a substantial one in the second half. All the Cav's starters positive plus minus(plus 33 total) all the Bulls starters negative(minus 60 total), all the Bulls second unit substantial positive plus minus(plus 75 total) all the Cavs negative(minus 48 total). At the end, they barely had enough cushion left as he brought back Rose way too early(brooks was having one of his good games), then Niko and finally Gasol, one more minute or possession and they would have blown it all. Heck, Gulliver almost did on the final Cav's possession when after giving up another offensive rebound the airball by Dellavedova fell in his lap, the 7'1" guy "forgot" the first rule of being a bigman by bending over and holding the ball below his knees away from his body allowing Kyrie Irving to sneek up on him and swipe the ball away, luckily it went out of bounds and we got the call, but a pretty bone headed play by a basketball savant, maybe he thought he was playing opera instead of basketball.

    Really any coach that still thinks starting Gasol, Niko and Dunleavy as your front court in game 80 needs a serious dose of electric shock therapy, and then add in the human mope a dope Derrick Rose, what a sickening collection of clowns and dogs. Even with Portis's rookie brain issues on D, and playing small on O(constantly blowing dunks and shots at the rim, it is still way more fun to watch Felicio and Portis than the twin Euroweasles.

    Hopefully missing the playoffs after laying down like dogs the past few weeks will wake up the clowns in the front office enough to realize that we have a least a 2 year rebuild window over the next 2 summers.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    BigWay you're right on the money, bringing back Noah is important even with a team friendly contract is wise. People should not forget how he in many ways is still the heart of the Bulls. He is a motivator and when healthy they always made the playoffs. He sacrificed his body for the team.
    The early exit this year with no playoffs may be a good thing for the Bulls who have had so many long seasons in a row. I believe that Snell has basically been traded to Sacramento for a player and extra draft considerations that will enable Chi to get lucky winning two high draft picks. With better coaching Chi could have the beginnings of a dynasty. I wish also that they could add that center from this year's NCAA championship--he looked like someone that is a natural true rim protector. Add two young point guards, and shooting guard--and let Gasol go.

  • By the way, just curious what you guys think about this, what if the season went exactly as it did, but Gasol missed all the games that Noah did, and Noah was healthy for all the games Gasol played. Anybody else think that the Bulls are in the playoffs right now, everybody, save one perhaps?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yes, I do think they make the playoffs with a healthy and engaged Noah. Although I think Gasol is the better player, this team wasn't missing talent so much as leadership, and that has to come from the locker room. Noah would not let his teammates dog it, game after game.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Maybe, Roman. But, Noah was around last season and earlier this season. Where was his leadership then? His skills have diminished, so you are removing the most skilled offensive player (Gasol) to one of the most unskilled offensive players (Noah) in today's game.

    Noah has never been an athletic above the rim player - and now he's a shell of himself.

  • Can't put this on Hoiberg. Blame belongs in one place and only one place and that's Gar Foreman and John Paxson. Not the first time Paxson has kept a flawed squad together too long. It's The year we landed the Rose pick all over again. These guys are so attached to their guys they are clueless about when to make a move until it's forced upon them. I have zero confidence in GarPax turning this around both have to go. We need a front office committed to pursuing championships not one who banks on being perennially good in order to pad the bottom line and their job security.

  • Totally agree. The GarPax front office is a disaster.The team is talentless and thus directionless.Bulls will have a hard time trading for and/or attracting players to come to Chicago.

  • In reply to concept8:

    I don't know if it's a disaster, but it's not good. The Thibs situation was bad. They have been dealt a tough hand with Rose... Teague and Snell picks poor, but too early to call McD and Portis. I think there is much more hope for those two than Teague and Snell. Gibson and Butler have been hugely successful picks, although I hear the guy who drafted them (and Mirotic) is now in Orlando.

    No team will hit on all their mid-round picks... it's a bit of a crap shoot.

    The talent/assets is not totally bare, so they have choices. GarPax needs to make some deals though, something they have not done for whatever reason.

  • In reply to Granby:

    there is not much point in viewing this Bulls season in anything other ..than brutally honest terms. An imploding disaster. Every player who showed a semblance of potential under Thibs...went backwards. GarPax did not make deals because they simply can't. They convinced Gasol.....but for what? Butler, appears to be the only one on the roster who has put in any work and has fulfilled potential. Gibson has been a known entity for quite sometime and they have been unable to package/unload him despite several attempts.Snell might benefit from some time in the D League.
    Mirotic and McDermott both need to learn defense and to be 'tougher' So long as Hoiberg is the Coach,Season ticket holders have a few seasons before they will see a deep- playoff-potential team on the floor at the UC

  • In reply to concept8:

    Well, yes, the season was a disaster. That's for sure. This team should challenge Cleveland to win the East on paper with Butler, Gasol and Rose showing he still can put up numbers any given night, although not consistently.

    The GarPax front office is not a disaster. They can make moves to improve things. I think Rose needs to be unloaded and Paxson seemed to say that Rose has had to worry about himself more in the press conference yesterday. That statement seems to be an indictment on Rose in that his health comes first, before winning.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Beg to differ.The front office has done v.little.& remains a huge issue.They made a big fanfare attempting to persuade Carmelo..what happened ? Zero!

    while both are somewhat Chicago Bulls products; Steve Kerr, (between his time with Spurs/Suns/Warriors) seems to have taken winning to another level...John Paxson???

  • In reply to concept8:

    Had Melo signed here, it would have been the disaster it has been in New York, and you'd be roasting the FO for signing such an old, fragile player to such a large contract. Maybe we should roast them for trying so hard to get him, because try, they did.

    This isn't directed at concept8 specifically but I'm actually sick to death of media and fans saying, "We can't attract any big FAs!" because it is a really insipid, whiny argument that ignores fact. What about Ben Wallace? Doesn't count because he sucked, right? But he WAS the biggest name FA at the time, by far. So the complaint should be, "We can't attract any truly franchise-changing FAs." Bulls fans aren't happy we signed Ben Wallace and I don't for a second think any Bulls fans would have changed their tune had we signed Dwight Howard. Or Melo.

    How many truly franchise-changing FAs have changed teams in the last 10 years? LeBron. Bosh. Aldridge? Not really a superstar, probably won't get them past the Warriors, but we'll see. Grasping at straws now. An aged Shaq to Miami? The only 2 guys who really fit the definition of what all Bulls fans want are LeBron and Bosh. 29 teams didn't get them but they avoided Chicago specifically because the Bulls can't attract big FAs? Ok whatever.

  • I said to wake me up when Steve Francis Jr. is off the team, and I stick with it. "I love the way I played this season" said the $20MM per year "team leader" and franchise star, shortly after his team was eliminated from the playoffs. He's a way bigger problem than coaching, ownership or even management, not to say that there aren't significant problems in all the other areas. The only bigger problem might be the medical and training staff.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Wow, did he really say that?! Oh, man. What a PR nightmare. He is just so out of touch, it's ridiculous!

    Changes NEED to be made. First on the agenda is finding someone who will take a flyer on Rose, who did, in fact, have his best season since his MVP year. With the cap going up so much this summer, perhaps a team that misses out on the big free agents will take a leap of faith???

  • D.Rose might be the greatest guy in the world BUT it should be obvious( even) to him that he needs to re-commit himself to a game for which he is currently being payed a lot of money to play.
    His press and media comments are, at best '....confusing' He is a total PR nightmare: and borders on appearing to have basic comprehension/dyslexic issues..

  • In reply to concept8:

    I used to dismiss his dumb remarks as a dumb guy who's bad at PR. I used to think "Derrick, you're a good guy, just don't talk."

    But this year he has taken it to another level, and I no longer think he's just bad at PR. His words reflect what he thinks about: His next contract, his health, his performance. I've seen and heard nothing to indicate that he thinks about the team or winning at all. I think he was all about team and winning prior to all the injuries, it appears they have impacted his priorities. If he's just in it for the money, that doesn't make him a bad guy, but this team doesn't need guys like that.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Totally agree. I do think he wants to win, but the bar is lower now with him. First comes his health and trying to play as many games as possible. A clear #1 priority for him. Then, slightly ahead of winning, he may want to get back to being an elite player. I think as long as he's close to his MVP year stats (in his eyes) then he's succeeding and setting up the rest of his career.

    I do think it's unfair to say he does not care at all about winning... but, winning is probably less of a priority for him right now. Back in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 after securing his MVP, it was EVERYTHING.

  • This team needs guys like the Celtics currently have. They don't have much talent. They have a bunch of grinders and guys who play well together. A great coach.

    I do think (hope?) Hoiberg can be great. He has not had the players for his system. The Bulls are now paying Thibs and Hoiberg (for another 4 years) to coach, so they aren't going anywhere. I say they blow it up. But, if they get value in their trades they can get back the talent to rebuild quickly and the right way. I don't mind young talent if they are ready to play... not a project like Kentucky's Labissiere who has zero NBA body and may not contribute for 3-5 years - if he even pans out.

    I've said I'm not sold on Simmons (selfish, teammates do not like him and cannot shoot at all), but I think adding Hield or Murray at SG makes sense. Heck, if you can really blow it up (trading Butler) you can obtain both. Murray supposedly can play PG, but I'm not sure if he's really a full-time PG. But, Murray and Hield can shoot the lights out and play fast - which is perfect for Hoiball. Both can play D, too. I also like MSU's Valentine and Kentucky's Ulis mid-round - both these guys are tough, hard-nosed guys and leaders... what this team needs.

  • I would not call this season a "complete failure"......more like a "Learning Lesson" to the Bulls, FO and fans.

    First......Rose's heart is not with the Bulls. Rose is looking forward his next Big Pay Day and keeping healthy. Rose has not mature on the floor or off the floor. So we can conclude that Rose should not be resign at any cost. So him and his entourage of buddies can play in LA LA land and take over Kobe's spot.

    Butler cannot work with Tibbs, and Holiberg. So who can he work with ? Hopefully his new coach in Boston or Los Angeles will try to fix that. You talk about Leadership...and you failed to lead.

    Noah.....you worked really hard...but you are a walking M*A*S*H unit....too many injuries. Age caught up with you, and the Bulls will go younger. Hope you can stay healthy for Team France in Rio.

    Brooks.....You have no discipline and lack respect to the coach and tot he team. Goodbye.

    Moore......You should be playing more !....You will be back.

    McDermott......no defense.....you have to hit 95% of your open shots to stay with this team. Looks like a failed #1 pick.

    Portis.....love this guy's energy.....needs to finish up on those easy lay ups.

    Gasol......I hope there is an Opera House in your next city.

    Gibson.......pack your bags for the next trade deadline.

    Dunleavy......see above note.

    Mirotic.......stop complaining that you got fouled on every shot !

    Bairstow.....Why are you still around ?....are you washing the owners car during your time off ?

    Felicio......Bulls Fans will be chanting your name next season ! You can be a BEAST !

    Holiday.........you are a "Keeper"...

    Snell.........Your time is up.....not even staying at a Holiday Inn Express will help your game. You could not make a USA Special Olympics Basketball team just because you have a Brain Fart issue.

    Holiberg....you are not a NBA coach....not your fault....you took the money, and the FO took a chance.......if it gets worse next season, you will be back in Iowa.

    Bulls FO......looks like Tibbs was right, and Paxson & Forman was wrong on which direction this team should go. Forman needs to strike GOLD with his lottery pick this year and if he is still around in 2017......and maybe get a few more lottery picks in Rose & Butler trades. Because neither one of those two are the face of the Future Bulls.

    Bulls Fans..........stop getting sucked in of how good this team is.....it's not !.....we might be a lottery team for the next three seasons. Only way this team gets back on top is a real NBA coach....some real dedicated players....and a FO who knows what they are doing. You drank too much Bulls Gator Aid....and now it is time to ditox all that bad Bulls juice in your system.

    The Bulls need to stay away high price Free Agents. We need to explore looking for a future coach and certain players who can gel into a team. I think most high price players will stay away from the Bulls until a new FO office and coach comes into play.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    The Bulls are destined to return to the bottom feeding days somewhere between the T.Floyd & V. Del Negro era(s)....if the Knicks can bounce D.Fisher..the Bulls can easily 'lose' Hoiberg. The NBA is not Iowa State and Hoiberg stays

  • I think the Bulls will make personnel changes this off season after listening to yesterday presser. Their was a lot of talk about players not showing leadership and how you can't talk leadership (Butler).

    About how Rose has had to worry about himself more now due to all the injuries he's been through. Paxson stated that it's hard to blame him for this, but I think it's clear. You can't have a top player worried more about daily aches and pains and decide to play at half speed on many nights. You can't continually walk the ball up the court, Rose and Butler. All the iso, holding the ball. It's just not the basketball that Hoiberg was supposed to bring to the table.

    Thus, I'm all for getting rid of Rose AND Butler if we can get some young talent in here that can play hard and implement Hoiberg's offense - shooters that can play some D.

    I watched Steph Curry warm up last night and the kid hit multiple shots in a row from the mid court logo. You can't guard that. Defenses must extend way out beyond the 3-point line against elite shooters, which opens up driving lanes and post games for bigs. We need this.

  • Yesterday Paxson used the word "accountability" numerous times. He even said that this applied to him and Gar also. Oh, really? If so, why are they both still around? When pressed on how "organizational accountability" would apply to the areas that management is responsible for, the standard reply by Pax or Gar was that the reporter didn't understand "the process." What we learned here is that these two guys have, in reality, not really been held accountable.

    How come the Bulls always change the players and the coaching staff repeatedly but not the FO? Why wait until we hit rock bottom like the Bears or Cubs before the owner decides that management is not up to the job?

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    I don't think Paxson understands what "accountable" means.

    To answer your question about why not the FO: I think Reinsdorf believes in stability in the FO roles, and I personally think there's a lot to be said for that as well. The best organizations have stable FOs and the ones that frequently fire and hire GMs do not fare well. Fans always suffer after losing seasons, always want to see someone pay for it with his job, and the higher up, the better; but giving in to fans' ire is no way to run a successful team.

    That stated, this FO is now past its shelf life and change there is in order, we can agree on that. Paxson has had a pretty good run but it's time to give someone else a shot. Just to be fair, that someone else will likely do a worse job, because Pax has been above average by any objective measure, but it's time to roll the dice. Not going to happen though.

  • I wouldn't call it a "complete" disaster because there were a few bright spots. But not many, so it was close.

    I just wrote an article about it if you want to check it out, but we found out that when Rose sits, Jimmy turns into Lebron. No, I'm not kidding. The 11 games that Jimmy played without Rose:

    27.7 points
    7.2 rebounds
    7.0 assists
    2.0 turnovers
    1.36 steals
    0.91 blocked shots
    .505 field goal percentage
    .820 free throw percentage
    .382 3-point percentage (3.1 attempts per game)
    9.1 free throw attempts
    .605 true shooting percentage
    2 triple-doubles

    Those are slightly better than Lebron's numbers this season across the board, plus the Bulls were 9-2 in those 11 games without Rose. 6 of the 11 were against playoff teams.

    We also found out:

    McDermott can be a threat off the bench with his shooting and scoring. He was brought in for his shooting, and he finished 5th in the NBA in 3-point shooting.

    Felicio got game, he's definitely our back-up center next season

    E'Twaun is a keeper

    Portis is going to be a decent player, maybe never a starter but solid off the bench

    Holiday is a keeper, he can guard 3 positions off the bench. Small sample size of 60 attempts, but he shot 43.3% from behind the arc as a Bull.

    Niko was outstanding on offense after coming back from the surgery - 22 games, 14.1 points in 26.8 minutes, .445 on 3's shooting over 6 per game, .628 true shooting percentage

    Those are the keepers, the rest of this roster needs to go. Maybe Noah stays if his contract is reasonable enough and we can't get a good defensive center from trading Rose, Gibson and Dunleavy.

    The Bulls played like crap most of the year, but they picked a bad year to win 42 games in the East. The last 3 seasons, the 8th seed only won 38 games each year, and the last 3 seasons 42 wins would have gotten you the 6th, 7th and 6th seeds in the East.

    If you look at how the team performed when Jimmy played and Rose didn't, I honestly don't see how anyone can say we shouldn't trade Rose and build around Jimmy.

    We need to use our trade assets and cap space to get another starting wing who can shoot the 3 and play defense and handle the ball somewhat (Batum is a perfect fit) and get a defensive center.

    The young guys will follow Jimmy, but we do need to re-tool around younger, more athletic players.

    I'm perfectly happy with Jimmy playing "point forward" or whatever you want to call it- yes he goes iso a lot, all the top scorers in the league do. But at least Jimmy looks to get his teammates involved (as his 7 assists per game without Rose would attest to).

  • In reply to Bullsville:

    EDIT: 5 of the 11 "Butler- no Rose" games were against playoff teams.

    Another thing- in the 11 "Butler-no Rose" games, the Bulls Offensive Rating was 116.7- Golden State led the league at 114.5 this season.

    Three of those were garbage time games, after the Bulls were eliminated from the playoffs, so in the 8 "Butler-no Rose" games that mattered, the offensive was good for a 114.2 rating. 5 of those games were against playoff teams, and the Bulls were 6-2.

  • In reply to Bullsville:

    Great points about Butler. I love Butler, it's just a few things:
    1. Is he the reason for the team's turmoil? Calling out Holberg back in Dec may have been the beginning of the end.
    2. The iso and slow play just kills me. Show some urgency at least sometimes!
    3. I'm assuming Rose cannot be traded and Butler is the only real chip.

    If we can trade Rose, I'd do it yesterday. He really did have a good season for him. Ironically, he was mostly healthy and finished the season upright, but the team didn't even make the playoffs, ironically.

    I'd rather move on from Noah. No game and depleting athleticism. If he was peeved about (justifiably so) losing his starting role and only playing 20 minutes last year, what is he going to do next year?

    What about Whiteside at the 5 and Barnes at the 4, to pair with Butler at the 3? (If we can dump Rose and somehow get the space...)

  • In reply to Granby:

    I mean Unjustifiably so for Noah to be peeved! Who did he think he was better than the last two seasons?

  • In reply to Bullsville:

    Nice stat pack, especially for someone on the get rid of Rose, keep Butler side. I'm a little later to the game on Rose than you and Roman were, I was willing to give him this season. To me the deciding factor isn't even the basketball side anymore, it's the sickening I don't give a shit about anything attitude and complete lack of interest in the game or being great that flipped the deal for me.

    The noise about Batum seemed to subside as the season went on, which could be a good thing. How much are you willing to pay a guy like Batum. $20 million per seems like way too much at least while we are still on this side of the massive salary cap increase(s).

    Whatever the Bulls do this summer, they have to avoid a short term do something just to do something move this summer. They need to look at this summer and next summer as a package deal. Maybe keeping your powder dry this summer is the smart move, rather than overpaying(perhaps massively) for a mediocre talent this summer.

    To me the first question to ask this summer, is whether or not you make Whiteside your number one priority, and if you do, is he gettable for the Bulls. Frankly, I don't know what to make of the guy, my gut says he's too volatile to give a 4 year max deal to, but his age and upside are just about perfect. I can't see him leaving Miami if they want to retain him, and if they don't then he becomes an even bigger risk.

    Niko was horrifically bad(little dougie jarhead bad) on the defensive end, especially after he came back from surgery. Physically inept and moronically stupid to be frank. Do you think his offense overcomes that? He's clearly in that group with the "wrong" attitude that Paxson was talking about. Can HB reverse that? I don't see a starter anymore, 6th man, instant offense off the bench, the Jamal Crawford of stretch 4's seems to be his high end.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Early in the season my ire was a result of Rose's poor play. At that point, his remark about his next contract didn't bother me that much.

    Since January, he has played much better than I ever expected and in purely on-the-court terms, provided some hope for his fans. But defensively, the effort just hasn't been there. You could say that for the whole team but he's the highest-paid player and supposed to be the leader, and prior to his injuries, he had turned himself into a solid defensive player. Furthermore, the things he says add up to a big picture of a guy who just doesn't care about his team winning anymore. If the attitude had stayed the same as it had been prior to injury, I could live with Rose moving forward after what we saw in the second half. He'd still have to improve but there are signs that he will. But now with the winning attitude replaced by a selfish one, I'm no longer interested in waiting for him to improve. He can get his big contract with another team.

  • The FO just needs a little more imagination or to rehire the two player evaluators they got rid of--and place their egos to the side to allow Hoiberg to work with experienced supervisory help he needs to be an effective coach.

    Niko as a 6th man would be very effective--now that is a great idea.because he may never be the defensive player a starter is required to be.

    Rather than pay Dwight Howard a king's ransom or take chances with the personality of Whiteside; in the second round of this coming draft I'd like to see the Bull's draft Daniel Ochefu of Villanova who is an excellent rim defender. We then could possibly see a tandum of Felicio and Ochefu that would offer speed and defense. I still believe Noah is the heart of this Bulls team and with Felico or with Ochefu on the floor Hoiberg would have a combination of speed, offense and youth defense--and team oriented players..

    Butler may be more effective as a point guard with all of his ball movement and could defend quite effectively against the league's top point guards. It may be impossible to trade Rose with his injury history, but it's also possible to move Rose to shooting guard where he can be more effective and still put up all star numbers--if he can still play some effective defense. Just imagine Butler holding down other team's point guards to low numbers.

    The team could possibly trade Gibson, Brooks and Dunleavy to a western team for lottery picks in this year's draft--they might enable the Bulls to get Ingram while drafting also a top tier point guard and another backup point guard..

  • In reply to penwit1:

    What? There is NO way the Bulls will be able to trade a couple of bench guys for a lottery pick to grab the best player in this draft.

    And, playing Bulter at PG and Rose at SG is not going to work. Neither can shoot so they don't complement each other.

  • In reply to Granby:


    If Rose was still MVP Rose, I'd say trade Jimmy to the highest bidder and build around Rose.

    But that's not the case, so we trade Rose to the highest bidder and build around Jimmy.

    I think Rose is still good enough that we can still trade him for cap space, and then sign a player or two that are a better fit for the roster going forward.

  • Looks like this blog could use a dose of the truth.

    In CONDENSED chronological order here is how the Bulls 2015/16 season fell apart.

    1. "It's Jimmy's team."

    * The local Sports talk radio cult leaders and their followers were too quick to tear down Chicago's own (D. Rose) to build up the "kid from small-town Tomball TX....

    ...who hadn't accomplished anything that Aaron Brooks hasn't accomplished.

    The problem is that it's NEVER a good idea to pump up the Head of someone who NEVER has been exposed to the limelight.

    * Especially, Small town folks.

    Hence, Jimmy Butler is dead, long live Jimmy Hollywood!

  • In reply to Scoe6363:


  • In reply to Scoe6363:

    a better condensed chronological order would be combine the disgusting attitude/basketball personalities of Rose and Gasol and this is what you get, a steaming pile of shit, on the court and in the locker room. Now, that's a proven fact that no pile of statistics and rankings can worm your way out of.

    The Pau Gasol(and hopefully Derrick Rose) era ended exactly as I predicted well over a year ago.

  • The fear of failure will put several kinds of negative remarks in our thoughts. Which directly or indirectly affect our life; so, we need to take preventive action to deal with our failure. Doesn't matter what kind of situation we are facing; if, we have found the courage to overcome and to deal with these problems. Then, we completely beat our fear of failure. Thanks for such a wonderful post.
    Fear of Failure

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