Does John Paxson and Gar Foreman See the Same Chicago Bulls' Roster We See?

We’re so deeply tied to the latest sentiment, that we often forget how easily our emotions whipsaw. In this Bulls series between the Philadelphia 76ers, we’re torn between hope and escapism.

The hope is obvious: maybe they can extend this and salvage whatever is left of a broken season.  The escapism is obvious: Maybe they can win a few games and we can all forget that Derrick Rose is broken and his career may have been altered.

For once, David Haugh has penned a solid basketball column that illustrates what John Paxson and Gar 

Foreman have done—they’ve constructed a cast of try-hards around an NBA superstar after whiffing on what is now the Miami Heat.

They should be commended for it too. You rarely see a team of specialists win consecutive regular seasons. 

You rarely consider them potential contenders against star-laden squads like the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder. But there they were, until…

I look at squads like the LA Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies and wonder how they can not possibly be better than the Chicago Bulls. The Grizzlies have five starters that nearly anyone in the league would like:

Mike Conley (solid and smart), Tony Allen (thuggish but one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA and backed by the fast-rising OJ Mayo), Rudy Gay (wildly overpaid, but a true scorer and talent), Zach Randolph (hurt, but maybe one of the only true pivot scorers in the NBA and a tenacious offensive rebounder) and Marc Gasol (one of the only above-average centers in the NBA, who was named to his first all-star game this season).

You see this roster and begin to wonder how these teams aren’t better than the Bulls. Think about it: How good is Derrick Rose? Don’t these playoffs crystallize our thinking? You need stars to win, not just leaning on the super-heroics of a 6’3 dynamo guard? Even Michael couldn’t do it alone.

Wednesday’s slop fest was about the Bulls getting back to their core philosophy: rebound hard and get back on defense. They moved the ball better and Luol Deng even decided to initiate much of the offense, despite a wrist that has bothered him for about five months now.

In bouts, this game was embarrassing to be called an NBA playoff game—just 26 points in the first half for the 76ers who are in need of a roster shakeup as well. You can’t put together three point forwards, no true post bigs, no point guards and expect anything but this.

At this point, you hope that Chicago’s general manager(s) see what we see on Chicago’s roster.

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moeed said...

Yup. You hope they see what we see. That's why part of me wanted to see the Bulls eliminated as quickly as possible (post Rose) so GarPax do not have the time to develop "if only..." ideas about this team. The truth is, as you've pointed out, even at full strength it's difficult to see how this team projects as a definitive champion contender considering roster limitations and the resources of other contenders. The image of a Clippers team coached by someone legitimate is scary, as are some playoff teams that may acquire Dwight Howard this summer without dismantling the entire team to do so. Deron William's impending free agency should also make the Bulls think twice about what it really takes to contend in a modern league where the gap between the rich and the poor is growing exponentially.

That's why I wish the front office has already entered off-season mode. The worst case scenario is that, like meathead fans, they still cling to the hope that the Bulls can make a respectable showing in these playoffs, perhaps stunning Philly and challenging Boston before bowing out with their heads held high.

Mike Mitchell said...

Good metaphor: the Rich and the poor continues to widen.

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