As the days roll on, it’s getting clearer and clearer that the Chicago Bulls have become a sad team, and that it has to be put out of its misery. The downward spiral has been occurring since January of last year.
From that inspiring start to the 2021-22 season, where they raced to a 26-10 record but proceeded to go 20-26 over the next 46 games and get bounced in the first round, 4-1, to being consistently inconsistent in the 2022-23 campaign, where they finished 40-42 and couldn’t even make the playoffs, to now, where they are just a few spots out of last place in the East.
While predicting such things are pretty much next to impossible, we should’ve seen it coming right from the first game of the season. With everyone still in good spirits since it’s a brand new campaign, the Bulls appear to be in disarray and already needing that dreaded “players only” meeting.
Head coach Billy Donovan is still seen as a good coach, and no one should be surprised if he immediately gets a new job should he get fired, but with such occurrences, it seems like he has lost the locker room. Such rumors have been flying around since late 2022, and it’s fully spilling out over the last few weeks.
In any case, the need for a rebuild is quite apparent, and while changes are all murmurs now, everyone knows the dark cloud above the team isn’t going away, and it’s only a matter of time before the fire sale begins. Bulls fans sure hope it happens fast.
As seen in the East ladder above, the Bulls have plummeted into a 5-14 record, placing them all the way down to the conference’s gutter spots. What’s worse is they are actually even lucky to have five victories considering they are performing terribly in a handful of categories.
Chicago is 1-8 over its last nine games, and in that span, the team is:
- 30th in points – 102.0 PPG
- 30th in assists – 21.3 APG
- 29th in FG% – 43.5%
- 27th in offensive rating
- 24th in defensive rating
- 24th in net rating (-6.9)
Further, seven of the 14 losses were by 13 or more points, with the most recent being the worst of the season. On Wednesday, they were crushed by the Boston Celtics, 124-97, and it featured one of their stars, Zach LaVine, having zero rhythm.
LaVine appears to have one foot out for years, and was only revitalized shortly upon DeMar DeRozan’s arrival in 2021. Now that their duo has ran its course, he may be back to wanting out, thus the trade rumors being on the airwaves yet again.
The 28-year-old, now in his seventh year in Chicago, is averaging 21.0 points per game on 44.3% shooting through 18 games this season, both of which are his lowest since the 2017-18 campaign. Given the age, though, he has countless explosive performances left, and one refreshing start should be able to prove that. We’ll see what the Bulls front office has in store. The reluctance is understandable, but the time is now. They are in a good position to at least get some interesting pieces and picks.
Also, as an added small ray of hope should they take the rebuild route, it’s not just LaVine. DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, and Alex Caruso are all fantastic additions to plenty of contenders, and will have a long list of suitors, especially DeRozan and Caruso since they have solid playoff mileage. Youngsters Coby White and Patrick Williams, meanwhile, are only 23 and 22 years old, respectively, so there’s a wide market out there–not that it won’t be a good idea to keep them.
It’s hard to see the Bulls climb from this ditch they’re in, but it will definitely be a welcome surprise if they pull it off. For now, though, there’s a huge chance we’ll see player movements soon.