After a ho-hum trade deadline and All-Star break, the Bulls got back to the business of tanking. John Paxson did the rounds of the Chicago media outlets describing the plan for the last 20+ games of the season: Play the young guys to see what we’ve got. Robin Lopez has been benched so the team can get a look at Cristiano Felicio. Justin Holiday has been benched to give David Nwaba more minutes (about time if you ask me). Jerian Grant is in street clothes so Cameron Payne can take the court. Noah Vonleh is playing the precious few minutes Paul Zipser previously possessed. The message couldn’t be any clearer, TANK!
Oh no Cris Felicio😢😢 pic.twitter.com/zRThLg3ud9
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) February 28, 2018
TANK! TANK! TANK!
(I like to imagine John Paxson as a submarine captain in a World War II movie, but instead of yelling “Dive!” he’s yelling “TANK!”)
But the Bulls aren’t tanking. Yes, they are losing games. The roster changes have assured that they will lose most of the remaining games, but they are not the only team losing. A fleet of submarines have already sunk below our lowly Bulls, and they are diving hard, and fast.
The Atlanta Hawks have the least talented roster in the NBA. They have been tanking from the very beginning of the season, they were constructed to lose games! It’s a miracle they have won 19.
The Orlando Magic have had some injuries, and their young players haven’t figured out how to win games, they are another team that has struggled to just 20 wins.
The Memphis Grizzlies are suffering from a classic case of team dysfunction. The players ***cough-Marc Gasol-cough*** forced the coach to be fired halfway through the season. This on top of injuries to key players, pushed the normally competitive playoff team to the brink of rebuild at 18-44.
Phoenix, Sacramento, Brooklyn, all perennial tankers. Dallas and New York, both proud franchises sinking fast.
The Bulls have a lot of company at the bottom of the NBA ocean. I don’t think they can make it into the bottom 5 of the league. Sure, the Bulls are tanking, but so are the rest of the leagues bottom feeders.
There is another problem that will guarantee the Bulls stay around the 8th worst team in the league… They are too talented. Lauri Markkanen is one of the best rookies in the league. Kris Dunn has turned himself into a very adequate NBA point guard. Zach Lavine can score from anywhere on the court and has shown some improvement on the defensive end. Bobby Portis has been the man, the Sixth Man, scoring off the bench like he was born to play that role. And my man, David Nwowza! Has done nothing but prove he belongs in the NBA. Add in some strong, consistent play from Denzel Valentine, and the Bulls are the best of the worst.
So, can the Bulls get worse? Sure, they could play Ryan Arcidiacono at the end of games, or sit Kris Dunn in favor of Jerian Grant, but is that what we, as fans, want? (I hear some of you screaming “YES!!!”) As it stands right now, the Bulls are in line for a top 10 pick in the draft. They found Markkanen at 7th overall, fingers crossed, maybe they can find another talented player with the 8th pick.
I am back from my All-Star break, so you can expect blogs posted every Sunday and Wednesday mornings, usually around 10am central time. Thanks for reading! Special thanks to my father-in-law, Frank, for the Cal Poly Mustangs t-shirt. Let’s all get our ‘Stang on and enjoy some more David Nwowza highlights…
The Worst Records in the NBA:
1. Memphis Grizzlies 18-44 .290
2. Phoenix Suns 19-45 .297
3. Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks 19-44 .302
8. Chicago Bulls 21-41 .339