Tampering is a joke. The NBA knows it’s a joke, but they feel obligated to “enforce” the rule because it looks even worse if they don’t. Did the Bulls tamper? Evidently. Have they been punished? Yes, with a slap on the wrist. Losing a 2nd round pick certainly isn’t nothing, but it almost is. Teams easily buy 2nd round draft picks from each other all the time. For most of the GarPax era it seemed like the Bulls favorite 2nd round player to draft was Cash Considerations (great in the post if a little undersized). The biggest affront to the Bulls in this entire tampering situation is that they got caught.
Let me complain about LeBron James for a paragraph. LeBron tampers every offseason. He gets a group of high profile free agents together at his house near LA, or his villa in Tuscony, or his igloo in Siberia, and he works out who he wants to play with, and then he tells the Lakers front office to make it happen, and they do. How do we know this? Because we’ve heard multiple stories from multiple players he’s approached that this is how it works, one of those recent players being Bulls star DeMar DeRozan. All these meetings/parties with Lebron happen before free agency begins. If that’s not tampering I don’t know what is, but LeBron never seems to lose a 2nd round pick for any of his shenanigans.
Alright, enough sour grapes for now (there will be more later), lets move on to lemons and lemonade.
Coby White is going to miss a few games. He has entered Covid Protocols after testing positive for the virus a couple days ago. This couldn’t have happened at a worse time for White, who was just starting to get it together on the basketball court. It was only a couple weeks ago that he returned from a torn labrum which robbed him of his offseason training. White has been a sore spot for some fans who think that a player that returns from an injury should be back to full form after 2 games. Those fans are idiots. Basketball players are not machines. Not only does it take enormous physical effort to return from an injury, but the mental and emotional price that is paid is equally taxing. Whatever you get out of White this season is a blessing, I think some fans need to be reminded of that. Get well soon Coby.
White’s out for the next few games, and Zach LaVine has been missing practice time with a NON-Covid illness. He played through last Monday’s victory over the Charlotte Hornets at less than 100%, news outlets were reporting that he had a fever in the morning and was feeling sick for most of the day. It didn’t stop LaVine from putting up numbers on the Hornets; He finished the game with 25 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. It wasn’t an MJ flu game, but it was pretty impressive nonetheless. I expect LaVine will probably be ready for tonight’s game against the New York Knicks.
The Bulls are Top 10 in the NBA in both Offensive (110, 8th) and Defensive Rating (105.4, 6th). They are one of 5 teams to currently hold that distinction. I can’t stress enough just how good and fun the Bulls are. I still don’t think they are serious contenders for the championship, but they are on their way, and it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that they cross that threshold before this season ends. We have to see how they perform in the playoffs before we can declare them contenders.
Nikola Vucevic had himself a game on Monday. Vuc has struggled this season to really fit with what the Bulls have been doing on offense. His shots haven’t been falling, he’s been down on himself, and besides from a few clutch baskets late in games, he really hasn’t looked like himself. He turned all of that around against Charlotte. 30 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, and a couple blocks. I hope this game shuts up all the naysayers that were panicking and looking to trade Vuc. The dude’s an All-Star, if you trade him you’re not getting back anybody better than him.
More Sour Grapes
Let me complain about weak minded Bulls fans for a couple paragraphs. I get it. Most of you weren’t alive the last time the Bulls were this good. I understand that we live in a society of immediate gratification, it feels right to complain about players that are struggling to contribute. Take it from a middle aged dude that has lived through an actual dynasty of winning, shut the F-K up about S-T you don’t understand.
The NBA season is a marathon. Some players, like Vucevic and White, are going to struggle during the season. Some players, like LaVine, aren’t going to put up the numbers they have in the past. This doesn’t mean they are “washed,” it doesn’t mean you look to trade them. You support your team. The Bulls are going to drop a couple games here and there that they should have won. You don’t panic and try to shake up the entire roster. You ride with the Chicago Bulls come hell or high water. Lonzo Ball isn’t the point guard you thought he was going to be? Javonte Green isn’t your preferred starting forward? None of that matters when you look at the win column. Over the last 4 decades there have been less than a handful of Bulls squads that have looked this good through a quarter of the season. Are there legitimate things to be concerned about with this team? Yes. They are not perfect, but that doesn’t mean I need to open up twitter everyday and see a bunch of scared fanboys trying to trade half the roster. You’re embarrassing the fan base. Act like you’ve been there before, even if you haven’t.
I know I’ve been trying to keep these posts more positive then today’s, and I really don’t like telling other fans how they should fan, but I just felt like that had to be said. It’s so weird to see people getting bent out of shape over every little detail of this team, especially considering how awful the last couple seasons have been. The Bulls are good, enjoy the ride. On that note, the Bulls face tough competition over the next few weeks, bring it on. New York, Brooklyn, Denver, the surprising Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami, LA Lakers, if you want to be the best… well, you all know how that one ends. Until they do, thanks for reading and GO BULLS!