Winter is here and the Chicago Bulls are yet again in a state of turmoil only 20 games into the season. After getting off to a 7-13 start Bulls nation is asking the simple question what is next?
As the season started Bulls nation had high hopes for a young and upcoming Chicago Bulls team. As Vinny Dell Negro began his second year with the club the sky was the limit. The bulls returned to the floor after arguably one of the best playoff series in NBA history. Although the bulls where knocked out of the playoffs in seven games by the defending NBA champion Boston Celtics, the bulls showed signs of a team that had the potential to make a deep run in the playoffs the following year.
After losing a huge contributor in Ben Gordon in the off-season due to free agency, the bulls have moved John Salmons to replace the loss in Gordon. A healthy Luol Deng returned to the lineup and after a very athletic draft class was signed the bulls where looking good. As they season began the bulls got off to a quick start with wins at home against the Spurs and a huge road win vs. The Lebron James Gang. The bulls took a 5-4 record into the circus road trip out west with hopes of being the first bulls team of returning to the United Center with a winning record since the Michael Jordan era ended in 1999. The trip started out with a good win in Sacramento vs. a good young talented team in the Kings. The next stop was where things went south. Although the bulls scored over 90 points in each of the next three games they lost to the Lakers, Nuggets and the trailblazers. A disappointed bulls team walked in to Energy Solutions Area arguably one of the hardest places to play in the NBA to face the Jazz and lost by nineteen points. The Bucks where next and the Bulls desperately needed a win, although the bulls played a good game it was not enough to beat the Bucks as they fell 99-97. After finishing the road trip with only the one win a banged up bulls team ( Ty Thomas and Kirk Hinrich on the injured list) returned to the United Center trying to get back on the wining side of things, where they faced Ben Gordon (Ben signed with the Pistons in the summer via free agency) and the Rival Pistons. Ben Gordon put up 18 points in his return to Chicago to beat his former team. The road didn’t get any easier as the bulls then played the Cavs, Raptors, Nets and Hawks. The bulls where run out of the gym in all of these games except for a home loss to a nets team who had just ended there NBA worst start ever to a season going 0-18 to the Bobcats. After all of this Bulls Nation is asking what is next for this team, do they pack it in and take a slogan from a fellow Chicago team the Cubs and say “wait till next year”.
Quitting on this season cannot and should not be the answer. Its time that Vinny Del Negro makes some changes, The Bulls do not have a post presence that can demand the ball and bang down in the post. You ask what do the bulls have? Athleticism and lots of it! Its time that Vinny puts it to work, Its time he takes a page out of the Suns play book and start running a transition game. Much like the style of play that Derrick Rose played in at his short college career at Memphis under John Calipari. If the bulls get a up and down style of play going they will be able to get open transition looks that the outside shooters like Hinrich Deng and Salmons could not get in a conventional half court offence. This will also open the floor for Tyrus who thrives on the offensive put backs and the show time aspect of the game. (Who is hurt now but will be back soon) When things are not going right as a coach you must do your job and coach. This is one thing that Vinny is not doing now and if he wants to keep his job he had better get his team to if not win some game at least compete in games.
This team is at a defining point in the young season and changes must be made all around noone ever said wining was easy. In the words of one of the greatest coaches that the game of basketball has ever seen “The key is not the “will to win” . . . everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” Bobby Knight