The Chicago Bulls are a different franchise than they were on March 11th, 2020, the day their season ended, the day Covid-19 put the NBA on hold. A much needed change has swept through the Front Office, pushing out GarPax and ushering in Karnisovas and Eversley. As the off-season begins in earnest for the entire NBA, those winds of change continue to reshape the franchise. New scouts have been hired to improve the vision of the Round Table. A new training staff is taking over the development and conditioning of the players. The new head coach, Billy Donovan, will begin putting together his staff and forging relationships with his players. The players have participated in a 2 week mini-camp, filled with all sorts of basketball and team building activities. The Front Office has been interviewing and evaluating draft prospects. The Bulls have been very busy over the last few months. Busy moving toward competence.
If there is one thing that a lifetime of video gaming has taught me, it’s that sometimes things get so messed up, you just have to bite the bullet and hit the reset button.
Finally, after three tough years of unsubstantial cosmetic changes, the Reinsdorf Family has realized just how messed up the Bulls franchise has gotten. They figured out it would take more than simple changes to the roster or the coaching staff to rebuild the Chicago Bulls. They bit the bullet and hit the reset button for the entire organization.
There have been a few pivotal moments in Bulls history that I have been privileged enough to witness; the Greatness of Michael Jordan, his retiring and un-retiring, the installation of Phil Jackson as head coach, winning 6 championships in 8 years, the break up of the dynasty, the hiring of Tom Thibodeau, the drafting of Derrick Rose, the trading of Jimmy Butler, these have been the most significant moments of my fandom up until this summer. The moves the Bulls have made during the Covid Hiatus feel just as pivotal as the ones mentioned above.
What we’ve seen from Arturas Karnisovas, Marc Eversley, and the rest of the Round Table, has been extremely encouraging. They have displayed calculated patience when dealing with the removal of coaches and staff, and they showed dogged aggression when pursuing Billy Donovan. There is a genuine sense that the Bulls front office is committed to meticulously rebuilding not only the reputation of the franchise, but the very identity of the Chicago Bulls; what it means (stealing a Boylenism) “to wear ‘Bulls’ across the chest.”
Karnisovas has repeatedly said he is searching for the “best available” person for whatever position he is trying to fill, whether that is the upcoming 4th overall draft pick, or hiring future Basketball Hall of Famer Billy Donovan as head coach. Arturas and Eversley have backed up almost everything that they’ve said with appropriate action. We’ll see if they can continue this trend in the draft, and more importantly in free agency. Will they pursue the best free agents available? Will they be able to convince them to sign with the Bulls, like they did Donovan? Even more than the upcoming draft, in my mind, free agency is the next giant hurdle the Round Table has to prove they can vault.
There is no guarantee that this reset of the Chicago Bulls will result in winning. I cannot say with any certainty that the Bulls will be NBA Champions in the near future. I cannot even say that they will compete for a title anytime soon. What I can say is that Arturas and Eversley have made a strong, positive first impression. They appear to understand how a professional basketball franchise should operate at this point in time, and they are intent on elevating the Bulls to that level. Even if we cannot say with any certainty that the Bulls are moving toward winning, at the very least they are moving toward competency. For now, competence is a modest enough bar for the Bulls to aspire to.
That’s all I have for today. In future posts I’ll dive into some draft thoughts with my very own RokDeez NBA Draft 2020 Big Board, and I’ll need to eat some crow for a woeful year of bold, yet incompetent and awful, predictions. Thanks for reading and GO BULLS!