Chicago Bulls: The Season Of Constant Limbo

Mar 11, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) is defended by Chicago Bulls guard Justin Holiday (7) during the second half at the United Center. Miami won 118-96. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 11, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) is defended by Chicago Bulls guard Justin Holiday (7) during the second half at the United Center. Miami won 118-96. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

This season, the Chicago Bulls are stuck in constant limbo, and there may be no way out.

The Chicago Bulls are struggling. But not in the way that the Philadelphia 76ers are. Or that the Los Angeles Lakers are. In a way, being 32-32 is worse.

Currently ninth in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the Detroit Pistons, this organization is neither the worst of the worst nor a championship contender. No, the Bulls are just continuing to be stuck in constant limbo, unable to really succeed but yet refusing to totally give up either. They are mediocre, at best. And mediocre gets you no where in this league.

Every team’s goal is to win a title. That is a no-brainer. But even some of the top dogs know deep down, when it just is not their year. In which case, coming in somewhere around third or fourth seed is perfectly acceptable for them. They can still see solid postseason action. And at least have a chance at winning it all.

In other words, championship or not, a playoff run is a season well spent.

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On the opposite side of the spectrum, you have franchises who are currently in their rebuilding stage. And while in the moment it might hurt to have one of the worst records in the NBA, the consolation is walking away with a draft pick or two that can develop into a team-changing entity.

Then there is sitting somewhere in the middle, which leaves an organization with nothing. Making the playoffs is either a stretch, or it is guaranteed that seeing action beyond the first round is impossible. And it is unlikely that the rookies still available will be good enough to turn the entire group around. This is the group in which Chicago currently falls into. This is the fate of the Bulls.

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There are many reasons why this is the case, the first and foremost being that the front office simply does not seem to have the team’s best interest at stake. Year after year, both John Paxson and Gar Forman have made questionable decisions, leaving both the players and the fans, to scratch their heads in confusion. They never learn. Or even try to pretend to do better.

The Gar-Pax duo simply continues to put itself first, regardless of what happens to the organization thereafter.

A prime example of this being the firing of former head coach Tom Thibodeau/hiring of current head coach Fred Hoiberg. While Thibodeau certainly had his shortcomings, his actual coaching was never really an issue. Nor was his relationship with the guys. They both got along with and respected him, becoming one of the league’s top defensive powerhouses under his leadership.

But that was not good enough for the front office. They prioritized their personal feelings about Thibodeau, and fired him in a way only they would have the audacity of doing. And as if that was not bad enough, they then decided to bring aboard newbie Hoiberg, all thanks to a close friendship he had developed over the years with Forman himself.

Which brings up the second reason Chicago is currently a disaster: Hoiberg.

It is clear that Hoiberg has yet to switch his mindset over from college coach to professional. And while this is only to be expected in the beginning, it does not necessarily seem like he has any plans to either. Just as the team has been open about not exactly respecting their new leader, he shows no signs of doing so back. He knows that long as Gar-Pax are happy, his job is safe.

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So for now, he continues to overwork his players, run offensive plays rarely found in the NBA and help to assemble a group of … misfits.

Some Bulls fans may not like that term. In fact, many seem to think that if the whole team was healthy, they would be a force to be reckoned with. But sadly, this is not the case. And the way the group is structured right now, cannot lead to successful play.

It is true that Chicago does have some solid talent on its roster. In fact, most of the players are actually deserving of praise. Pau Gasol stands out as a superstar. And when he is healthy, Jimmy Butler is obviously becoming the face of the franchise. At the end of the day, Derrick Rose is still Derrick Rose. And Taj Gibson is an integral part of their starting lineup.

Justin Holiday was a nice pickup. While Doug McDermott is starting to step up. But that does not mean that as a unit, this group is working well together.

The inconsistency of play from just about everyone is alarming. The rotations being used are questionable. They are forever playing down to opponents. And finishing games is usually a task.

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The Bulls may break .500. They may make the playoffs. But in reality, this organization is in trouble.