It has been 3 days since the Bulls were destroyed by a depleted San Antonio Spurs team. We are 11 games into the season and they’ve had some time to regroup, reevaluate and prepare for the next leg of the rebuild. It has been a nice respite for the fans as well. Not watching crap basketball these last few days has been refreshing. I’ve used the time to throw together some observations about this team. This is what I’ve seen from our favored NBA sons:

Ryan Arcidiacono…

Played 5 minutes in the first game of the season did not impress. He is now playing on the Windy City Bulls in the G-League.

Antonio Blakeney…

Has played one minute in an NBA game this season, and has mostly bounced between the Bulls bench and the Windy City Bulls. He has put up monster scoring numbers in the G-League, averaging almost 40 points a game on 53% shooting. He is too good for the G-League, but is he good enough for the NBA?

Kris Dunn…

Has been a disappointment for me. I was expecting Dunn to be the starting point guard. He should be using his athleticism, strength and quickness, so apparent on the defensive end of the court, to much greater effect on offense. No doubt the early injury to his hand was a setback in his development, but he is still turning the ball over way too frequently. And it’s not like he’s turning the ball over trying to make plays, most of his turnovers come from his poor ball handling skill. I haven’t completely given up on my guy just yet, but we need to see better ball handling going forward.

Kay Felder…

Is short. He is also trying to do too much when he gets on the court. He is trying to be Isaiah Thomas of the Cleveland Cavaliers and he is not Isaiah Thomas. He doesn’t need to be Isaiah Thomas. All he has to do, to be the best point guard on the team, is get the ball to Lauri Markkanen in the post, drive to the hoop and pass, or hit an open jumper when one is available. Right now, Felder is trying to impress the Bulls with a “shoot first ask questions later” attitude, and it’s just making him look selfish.

Cristiano Felicio…

Is stealing money from the Bulls. His play has not justified the 4 year contract he signed over the summer. He doesn’t look comfortable on the court with his new-ish teammates. He certainly does not look like he could play starting center if the Bulls were to trade Robin Lopez. Hell, he hasn’t even looked like an NBA player. Most of the blame is on Felicio, but some of it falls on his teammates and coaches for failing to get him involved in games. His greatest contribution to a game is his signature foul an opponent and get frustrated with the referee move (patent pending).

Jerian Grant…

Is STILL the starting point guard??!! Jerian is an okay player. He is more of a shooting guard than a point guard, but he has valiantly attempted to adapt to a position he is ill suited to play. Unlike Kris Dunn, he rarely turns the ball over, but it’s not because he has great vision, or superior understanding of the offense, or great passing ability. He doesn’t turn the ball over because he is too afraid to make a “dangerous” pass. Grant cannot pass the ball out of the paint, and he cannot pass the ball into the post. He is great with dribble hand offs and swing passes. Any pass that appears risky, no matter how necessary and fundamental to basketball, is ignored. An NBA point guard cannot be timid.

Justin Holiday…

I am a little disappointed with Justin Holiday. After a strong preseason performance, I thought he would be putting up better numbers on offense. That’s not to say he has been awful this season. He has merely been himself; a journeyman NBA 2-way wing. A nice rotation player who could flourish on another team as a third or fourth scoring option. He is just not talented enough to be the #1 scorer on an NBA team. I blame myself for having higher than reasonable expectations for a good, not great player.

Zach Lavine….

To be determined.

Robin Lopez…

Has blossomed into the leader of the Chicago Bulls. He is the big man whisperer, having taken young Lauri Markkanen under his wing, showing the rookie what it is to be a force in the league. Lopez makes a lot of invisible contributions to the team, he does the dirty work with screens and box outs that don’t translate to the traditional stat sheet. With an improved mid-range game, he is playing some of the best basketball of his career. With all the on the court contributions, his emerging leadership and mentoring skills, it might be a mistake to trade Lopez this season. It will be a hard decision for the front office to make, and one I am not sure we fans can trust them with.

Lauri Markkanen…

Is the reason to watch the Bulls this season. He continues to surprise and improve as the season progresses. He has shown off his brilliant shooting stroke, taken All-Stars off the dribble, finished aggressively at the rim, and been surprisingly quick on defense. The kid has a lot of potential! One thing I would like to see from him, when he is fully recovered from his ankle sprain, I want him to be more assertive in the offense. He is the teams best option right now on that end of the court, he needs to demand the ball more, and the rest of the team should be looking to get it to him.

Nikola Mirotic…

Needs to heal up and be prepared to waive his no-trade clause.

NikoBack
Mirotic rehabbing at the Advocate Center

David Nwaba…

Another bright surprise for this rebuilding team. His energy and defensive prowess help to cover up some of his deficiencies on offense. He has made the most of his opportunities and was coming into his own before the ankle injury. I hope he heals quickly and comes back with the same energy and intensity. The Bulls have really missed his play.

Cameron Payne…

campayneshame
She must be a Bulls fan

‘Nuff said.

Quincy Pondexter…

Reminds me of former Bull Nazr Mohammed. Pondexter, like Mohammed before him, is the veteran anchor at the end of the bench. He is not on the team to play necessarily, he is mostly on the team to provide wisdom and perspective. That being said, I doubt Quincy thinks of himself in those same terms. He has seen some playing time due to the recent injuries to Nwaba and Markkanen. His play has been rusty, as you would expect from someone who hasn’t been healthy for several seasons, but he looks like he knows what it takes to be an NBA player. I would like to see Pondexter play with Markkanen, he would be able to feed the Fin in the post.

Nazr
Nazr Mohammed

Bobby Portis…

Has been making baskets… and breaking faces. I’m still surprised that Portis wasn’t cut. He has more potential than Mirotic, no doubt, but c’mon, he broke the man’s face! Bobby’s offensive production is up, which is nice to see, but his defense is still shoddy… and he broke Niko’s face.

Denzel Valentine…

Decided to focus on three point bombing this season. He is not fast enough to blow past defenders, and, so far, he has forgotten all about his play making days in college (even with the prime ball handling position an open competition). This leaves him with only one option on offense: BOMBS AWAY!

Paul Zipser…

Sadly, is bad.

Fred Hoiberg and the Coaching Staff…

Have their work cut out for them. I think I hate Hoiball. I’m not sure if it’s the scheme, all the 3 man weave B.S., or the fact that they don’t have the personnel to run the scheme. Either way, I’m pretty sick of side to side action and dribble handoffs. Can’t somebody, just once this season, ISO AND TAKE A DEFENDER OFF THE DRIBBLE?!!! Maybe they can’t. The team has responded to some of Hoiberg’s hard coaching, which is a welcome change to previous seasons. Some players have shown improvement over the course of this short season, while others (Zipser and Felicio) seem to have regressed. I don’t know how influential Hoiberg is on his players individual workouts, but I hope he isn’t as hands off as he appears. This team is too young, and too dumb, to trust them with their own development. Oh, and before I forget, they need to learn how to RUN A FAST BREAK!!!!

The GarPax…

Have put together a bad team. They have put together a very bad team. But was it by design? Are they truly losing on purpose? Or have their most recent roster decisions been so awful that the only way to save face has been to burn it down and start over? What is this team they have sculpted? Mirotic- inconsistent, Portis-doesn’t defend, Valentine-slow, Zipser-fading, Felicio-frustrated, Payne-disasterous, Grant-timid. These were all players drafted and traded for before they decided to rebuild. Rebuilding will be a long process, one that demands excellence in talent evaluation. I doubt the GarPax is up for the job. As this season moves forward, they will be faced with tough decisions regarding personnel and trades. We fans need them to be good at their jobs, or, if not them, SOMEONE ELSE.

This has been a negative post, and I apologize, I did promise to stay positive for this blog. But I don’t think anything I’ve written is unwarranted. I know I am not the only fan frustrated by the play of the Bulls this season. I’m not talking about wins and losses, I mean it’s frustrating to see the same mistakes over and over without an inkling that work has been done to correct those mistakes. The good news: there is still a lot of basketball left to be played. The better news: There is still a lot of time left in this rebuild. People can change, organizations can change. The Bulls will be better. Someday.

And if you aren’t following @_MarcusD2_  on Twitter already, a plague on your house! It’s a great follow for hi- and lowlights.

The Worst Teams in the NBA

1. Dallas Mavericks: 2-13  .133

2. Atlanta Hawks: 2-12  .143

3. Chicago Bulls: 2-9  .182

4. Sacramento Kings: 3-10  .231