The All-Star Break is over, and boy was it needed. The Chicago Bulls sit at 26-33, 11th in the Eastern Conference, just outside the play-in tournament, with 23 games left to be played.
The big news from this week, Chicago native Patrick Beverley is a Bull. He was signed off the buyout market, and replaces the rarely used Tony Bradley, whom the Bulls waived for his roster spot.
I don’t know what we’re going to get out of Beverley. He could be a really great addition to the team. He is known as a strong defender, great teammate, locker room leader, and a player that gives 100% every game. If those qualities hold for the next 23 games, Beverley could be the catalyst for a late season playoff push.
That’s what the team is hoping for. That’s what I’m hoping for.
But the signing really feels like the Front Office is trying to put a band-aid on a person that just lost an arm in a shark attack.
The problems with this Bulls team run deeper than a lack of “fire and passion.” That’s the easiest and most discernable problem to diagnose and fix, but adding Beverley doesn’t feel like it will reverse a confoundingly bad offense.
The Chicago Bulls have a top 10 defense in the league, but their offense is almost the worst. How is that possible when your three “best” players are all offensively minded?
I’m sick of watching the Bulls dribble weave at the top of the arc, with all the handoff passes that lead to poorly executed pick-and-rolls from the wing, which eventually turn into late in the shot clock Isolation from either Zach LaVine or DeMar DeRozan. Whatever it is they think they’re doing with that offense, it’s not working.
Offensive possessions with zero dribble penetration, or difficulty getting the ball into the post, are the norm. Pull-up three pointers taken early in the shot clock, and the aimless swinging of the basketball around the perimeter until a defender sags off just enough for them to take a three, occur on a regular basis. The Bulls offense has dug it’s own grave, and I doubt that Patrick Beverley brought a ladder with him when he decided to use that grave as his fox hole for the rest of this season.
The Bulls have some ground to make up if they want to qualify for the play-in tournament, let alone the playoffs. They’re going to have to do something that they haven’t done since Lonzo Ball got injured over a year ago, and that’s win the majority of their games.
If they are going to flip the script this season, the Bulls need to do more than just show up. They need to push past whatever mental doldrums they’re in, start listening to their coach again, and play together on offense. The talent is there to make a playoff push, it’s a matter of figuring out the offense and staying mentally strong for this last quarter of the season.
I don’t know what else there is to say about this team. They have done nothing this season but sow frustration and despair among the fan base.
And so, as much as I hope, I struggle with my belief.
Let’s hope the Bulls come back from this All-Star Break refreshed and ready to compete. If we see them playing hard, every possession, I might begin to believe.
Until they do, thanks for reading and GO BULLS!