This season, the Chicago Bulls have been one of the biggest stories in the NBA. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been because of their success as a team. Due to team chemistry, offensive struggles and bad decisions made by the front office, the Bulls have been mediocre all season and it looks like the situation may only get worse.
The Dysfunctional Chicago Bulls
The Questionable Offseason
Going into this past offseason, the Bulls were looking for a new start. They decided to trade hometown hero Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks, which was a move that had to be done. His knee injuries over the years made his game completely change and he was never going to be the same from his MVP campaign in 2011. When the Bulls traded Rose, it was clear that they were handing the franchise over to Jimmy Butler. Coming into the league as mainly a premier defender, Butler has worked hard to become one of the better offensive players in the league as well. There aren’t many players who are better than him on both sides of the floor every night. The Bulls front office made it clear after the Rose trade that the team was looking to become a faster and younger team. Their offseason moves said the opposite.
In free agency, the Bulls were very active. They wanted to try and find the best players to put around Butler and turn the team into a contender. Instead, they decided to sign Chicago native Dwyane Wade and would also sign Rajon Rondo. Both of these players are on the back ends of their careers and are not as flashy as they once were. Everyone was skeptical of the moves the Bulls were making. In today’s NBA, it is a necessity to have players who can shoot from the perimeter. The league has become dominated by the three-pointer. The biggest weaknesses in Wade and Rondo’s games are their shooting. So right then and there, it was already a bad fit for both players. Sure, the Bulls maybe felt obligated to sign Wade to a big payday because he wanted to play for his hometown. But at this stage in his career, he is not the player than can be put alongside Butler for a dynamic duo.
When putting together a team that doesn’t have the ability to knock down the three-ball at a high rate, it is going to be hard to survive in today’s NBA. The Bulls have been the perfect example. Right now, they are currently averaging 6.4 3PM a night. That is dead last in the entire association. To put this into perspective, the Rockets lead the league in 3PM at 14.5 at night. So just because of that, there is already a 24-point difference. The Bulls’ best three-point shooters, Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic, have been inconsistent from deep all year and it has really hurt the team.
Not only do the Bulls struggle to score from deep, but they simply struggle to score in general. Although they average 101.2 PPG, which sounds like a lot, it is a pretty low number in today’s NBA. The top four scoring teams in the league average over 110 PPG. There just simply isn’t enough scoring on the Bulls roster for them to compete with the best teams in the league consistently. It’s been common for them to have quarters where they score under 15 points. And with the offensive woes, there have been team chemistry issues, especially off the court.
During the past week, we have seen players from the Bulls start to call each other out for their lack of performance and effort. First, we saw Butler and Wade call the team out, which would actually lead to them not being in the starting lineup against the Miami Heat.
Jimmy Butler wants the Bulls to care more pic.twitter.com/FshLPDyjuC
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) January 26, 2017
Dwyane Wade on whether Fred Hoiberg has control on the locker room: "You'll have to ask Fred that."
— NBA SKITS (@NBA_Skits) January 27, 2017
Not too long after their comments became public, Rondo decided to let his voice be heard via Instagram. He mentions how things were much different during his days with the Boston Celtics and how Butler and Wade shouldn’t be going to the media to say this kind of stuff.
👀 Rajon Rondo posted to Instagram a day after Dwyane Wade & Jimmy Butler spoke to the media.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 27, 2017
It has become clear that the plan for the Bulls this season has not worked out. There are too many different egos and not enough talent for the team to be successful. The Bulls currently sit at 23-25 and are the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. This was not what the Bulls were expecting to happen going into the season. At this point, no one is really sure what moves the front office is going to make. But if one thing is certain, it’s that the Bulls are dysfunctional and something needs to be done sooner rather than later.
CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 29: Rajon Rondo (9) of Chicago Bulls handles the ball during a NBA game between Chicago Bulls and the Indiana Pacers on October 29, 2016 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
(Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)