Type to search


Answering the Chicago Bulls’ tough questions


A snapshot…

Chicago’s been exposed. After a three-game win streak, the Bulls went 2-2 in a stretch that included home losses to the Hawks and Bucks.

But these losses may not be such a reminder that the Chicago Bulls are the Chicago Bulls. After the appearance of Otto Porter and the three game win parade, the talk around the Windy City was nothing but hot air. Bear’s runoff. With an open ear on Michigan Avenue, you might think the Bulls had a shot in the NBA Title.

In Chicago’s case, exposure may play to their favor. In the midst of all the fervor, The Bull’s identity was more up in the air than ever. Were they a busted rebuild? A slow moving example of the tank method? Or were they truly thrust into a renaissance not seen since the Derrick Rose era?

With Sunday’s loss to the Hawks, the latter seems ever more unlikely. But with all the pressure off their backs, Chicago can double down and do what it does best—wait. They can use the rest of their season to experiment, find their offensive groove, solidify their defensive chemistry. The Bull’s can use the remaining 18 games to create a more attractive destination for incoming free agents and trade targets.

Jim Boylen…still?

When the Bull’s bought on Jim Boylen as their interim head coach, he felt very much like what an interim is supposed to be a face and a name to hold a place until a more qualified candidate can come along. Boylen didn’t do himself any favors in the opening weeks of his tenure. In December, Boylen and the Bulls were good off the court following a 133-77 loss to Boston.

Right now Chicago is in a tender spot. There are breezes of hope through the Windy City, and every personnel move must be made with a heightened sense of calculation. Chicago has proved it can’t flourish under the lax style of younger coaches, like Fred Hoiberg and Jim Boylen’s to the emerging Bull’s talent. Don’t let the three game burst fool you—Boylen’s 13-26 record isn’t going to get the job done.

So what other options does a young an impressionable team have?

As these things go, Chicago may have met their next head coach Monday night. Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer is heavily regarded among players and execs as a true tactician and culture-freak. Budenholzer was handed Atlanta back in 2013, when the Falcons were still contenders in the East. But the Hawks quickly folded, and Budenholzer was shipped up to Milwaukee, where he has quietly led the wily young Bucks to an admirable 46-14 record. Budenholzer has showed that he can maintain a firm, but loose grip on a wide-eyed squad, but can Chicago trust his calm and collected demeanor to lead them back to the playoffs?

They might not have to. Doc River’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season. The 32-year league soldier has graduated to sideline general. When River’s gets hired into an NBA franchise, that franchise becomes a business, a rolling tank of success that does not stop or answer questions. The man has ice in his veins. He traded his own son. And when he was asked about it, he simply said, “yeah, I made that call.”

Chicago has a lot to learn from a man with a ring on his finger. The Bull’s could lean heavily on River’s stoic stare and his unbridled charisma. But after Boylen’s run as coach comes to an end, the Bull’s may be weary of bringing on a head coach that might have a different leadership style.

The answer may lie in the middle. At 44 years old, Jerry Stackhouse is still a baby in a man’s game. But he noiselessly lead the Toronto Raptor’s G-League team to two consecutive G-League title games, before being bought on as an assistant in Memphis. Stackhouse was widely regarded as a fierce competitor in his playing days. Hefocuses on one-game-at-a-time prep, a simplicity that the Bulls may need going forward.

To Zion or not To Zion?

It’s difficult to keep this in mind, but there are players eligible for this years draft not named Zion Williamson. Stinging like a manta ray and plowing through collegiate defenses like a runaway-freight train, the 6’7”, 280 pound Williamson has made himself a lock for the number one draft spot.

Zion’s been tied to the Bulls all year, and if you tuned in last week, you saw that Bull’s GM Gar Forman was spotted at the UNC-Duke game. But Zion isn’t the only player on Duke’s team, most of the time, and the rest of the Blue Devil roster features some top-10 names the Bulls may tip their horns to.

R.J. Barrett won’t cure Chicago’s three point woes, but his soft touch from the field could be the offensive solidifier that Kris Dunn was supposed to be. The Duke standout has connected on 46 percent from the field this season, and many top experts are beginning to place him ahead of Zion in their draft projections.

6’8” swingman Cam Reddish is frequently assigned to the Bulls in mock drafts in every dark corner of the internet. Reddish has been playing well and consistent since Zion’s injury, but his frequent mention as being one of the top names in college basketball is baffling. When Zion’s on the floor, Reddish has a tendency to disappear. His motor is questionable at best in tight games. His 7’1” wingspan is intriguing, but with 13.5 points-per-game on 37 percent shooting make for an enigmatic prospect.

So who can the Bull’s call on come June? Murray State’s Ja Morant might be Chicago’s gift from the basketball gods. The point guard’s name often gets lost in the Zion Williamson shuffle, but he’s quietly averaged 24.1 points-per-game along with 10 assists. His jackrabbit floor nature inhibit Dennis Smith comparisons. Morant may never be a superstar, or even a centerpiece, but he could be a valuable starter that could help carry Chicago into a new era. Should the Bulls call on Anthony Davis or another big name free agent, Morant’s presence might make the Windy City all the more enticing.

Questions We Still Don’t Have Answers Too…

You’re probably sick of hearing about Anthony Davis. The Bulls nabbing him this summer seems like a bit of a reach, and the Bulls are almost certainly out of the Antonio Brown sweepstakes, but rest assured that Chicago will be making some sort of splash, but in a summer class riddled with talent and touted names, who else could Chicago woo to get the city buzzing again?

Grandma Marlene’s Gamebreak:

Back to Earth now…the Bulls are the Bulls again. But boy what a week. I don’t care what Mrs. Kaufmann says, or what kind of dogs she owns, not even a month ago we never would have beaten Memphis, or Atlanta the way we did Friday night. What a wild game.I wish the announcers would stop yelling everything though, and talking so much, I know what’s going on, I don’t need them to tell me…anyway, 168 points.The most in franchise history. I’ve noticed they are playing a lot more off the fast-break, which is the way it ought to be, we’re so young and talented that we shouldn’t be playing as slow as we had been.

Lauri is really starting to understand that his length is as much as an asset on defense as it is on offense. The Hawks may have scored 161, but don’t let that fool you, the Bull’s look more excited on defense and are trying to create turnovers rather than just fill the space. They aren’t good at it quite yet, but once they get some more time defending aggressively, they have the athleticism to really be pests.

I was disappointed in Kris with his technical. I love Kris but he does need to be a bit more of a leader. I’m starting to wonder if he has that in him. That young fellaTrae, for the Hawks, he hit a three from Moline, I swear, it was something else. Then there goes Kris getting in his face, shoving like a child. I swear. And whatever we do, we can not hit the three or defend the three. The Hawks had 21 threes Saturday night. I don’t know why they make them play two nights in a row like that. We had some hot shooting from some of our bench guys that night, this Antonio Blakeney hit a pair of threes. He has a really pretty jump shot, very smooth. But as a team we shot 29 percent from the three, and for as young as we are, we ought to do better. I watched the post game, and Lauri gave a quote on the Bulls’ recent troubles.

“We’ve had many good practices, I don’t why it’s not translating here [in games],” Markkanen said. “We know we’re capable of more than what we’re doing right now, and those three wins we got in a row proved that to us.”

At least my boys know they can do better. But my spirits are high!.We have the Pacers, the 76ers, and the Pistons twice. I can’t wait to show that Jimmy Butler that we didn’t need him. Good riddance.


You Might also Like

Skip to content