When the Chicago Bulls TV ratings go down a total of 29% since last season, in one of the biggest sports markets in the country, you know there’s a problem. The Bulls have had many heartbreaking injuries and tough stretches in recent history, but fans were faithful and still watched. What’s different with this season?
Going into the All-Star break, the Bulls had a 27-25 record. After losing six of their last seven games, the Bulls hope to get a road win against Cleveland and a home win against Toronto this week. Playing two of the top teams in the East, while currently sitting in the seventh place, they hope to play better than they have all season. After watching the first half of this season, that seems pretty unlikely though.
There is a problem with the Bulls, and there’s more than one. Well, just to start, injuries to key players have plagued the team – Jimmy Butler is going to be out for possibly two more weeks, Joakim Noah is out for the season and Nikola Mirotic has lost 18 pounds after an emergency appendectomy and his return to play is unknown. All three players are important keys to the offense, and Jimmy Butler is their best defender. The Bulls lack of defense is another major problem. No one on the team knows how to properly defend. Former head coach Tom Thibodeau (let go in favor of first year NBA coach Fred Hoiberg), thought defense was the most important thing in the game, but this team has really shown that the Bulls lack fundamental defensive skills. They show no effort on “D”, don’t play help line, and they only have one player, Butler, who can defend almost anyone.
Why is it that the Bulls don’t play defense? Maybe it’s that they just take their time up and down the court, they complain on every no-call, and they just don’t care!
Watching the Bulls in the past, they have always shown great heart with a push to win and finish games. This season they greatly lack heart, effort, and the drive to win games. “It’s all about effort,” Derrick Rose says, and that is something the Bulls are clearly missing. They rarely have strong starts, don’t know how to finish games and they play lazy.
The Bulls have made watching their games very hard for fans. The team was booed by their home crowd before heading into the All-Star break. The faithful fans might stay, but the Bulls will have to step up, or their post season will be very short this year. This season is shaping up to be a complete failure for everyone, from owner Jerry Reinsdorf and front office duo Gar Forman and John Paxon, to new head coach Hoiberg and every single player who has stepped on the floor. Although Forman told WSCR AM670 reporter David Shuster they were “very active” at the trade deadline, they failed to make any significant moves or free up much salary cap space. They deserve to hear the boo’s if they don’t turn things around after the All-Star break.