When you think of the Chicago Bulls, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it the 6 championships of the 1990s? Is it Michael Jordan? Derrick Rose? Jimmy Butler? You all may have different answers to that question. However, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the Chicago Bulls is simple: inconsistency.
The Chicago Bulls are coached by first year NBA head coach Fred Hoiberg, who once played for the Bulls during the early 2000s. After 5 years of being led by former coach Tom Thibadeau, who reached the playoffs in each year during his tenure as head coach and was named Coach of the Year in the 2010-2011 season, the Bulls’ front office thought it was time to switch up the program. This decision led many fans and even players to be frustrated, but at the end of the day, the NBA is a business.
The Bulls currently hold the 3rd best record in the Eastern Conference, after the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors. This may seem “okay” for most fans, but for many others, it isn’t. The Bulls are arguably the most inconsistent team in the NBA. Truthfully, they have been that way for years. With 2 wins against premier teams such as the Oklahoma City Thunder, Cleveland Cavaliers, and even beating the Los Angeles Clippers once, the Bulls show signs that they can be a force to be reckoned with. However, when you lose to mediocre teams such as the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Brooklyn Nets, and even the Utah Jazz, it shows a lot about character and toughness. Despite losing center Joakim Noah for the rest of the year due to a shoulder injury, Mike Dunleavy hasn’t played a game all season due to injury, and losing Nikola Mirotic for a few weeks, the Bulls are missing quality defense, rebounding, intensity and 3-point shooting with those 3 players out.
Sure every team in the NBA can be beaten night in and night out. The league is filled with talented players. But, when you are trying to be a championship contender, there is limited room for error. Derrick Rose shows up some games, some games he doesn’t. You may get a 28-point performance from him in a game against a dominant team, and then an 8-point performance from him facing a team with a losing record. Consistency is key and the Bulls do not have an identity. Who’s team is it? Is it still Rose’s team? Is it Jimmy Butler’s team now that he’s becoming an emerging star and All-Star? No one knows. Pau Gasol says the team lacks trust amongst each other, and it shows on the court. He also says players do not listen to Coach Hoiberg and that Hoiberg is tired of talking. There hasn’t been a team meeting, but it needs to happen VERY soon. The Bulls cannot afford to drop any more seeds in the East. If so, don't be surprised if trades occur before the deadline. Until next time..