I fear the playoffs. I fear the Bulls simply grabbing the 7 or 8 seed. Even worse, I fear the Bulls pulling an upset in the First Round. I wake up screaming picturing them somehow making it to the Conference Finals. The consequences could haunt this team for years to come.
Silly as it may sound at this point in the season, I still believe there is a great deal of talent on this team. I don't think that preseason expectations for this team were in anyway out of line. We've seen the Bulls look good when they've all decided to show up to play for a random game this season. What if they all decide to show up come Game 1 of the First Round? What happens if they pull off an upset and make a run in the playoffs? Will all that has happened during the course of this season be forgotten? Will they be back at the same spot at the beginning of this season that they were last? Will Paxson let his loyalty overshadow his need to tweak the roster?
I think a first round upset is the worst case scenario from here on out. Imagine if Wallace finally shows up for the first round. He could single handedly force Paxson to bring back Boylan as the full time coach. The development of Tyrus and Noah could be set back for yet another year as Boylan remains loyal to the vets up front. Even if it is the young guys who are instrumental in a playoff push, I have a hard time seeing Boylan leaving his Highlander stance of there can only be one... young big getting significant minutes.
Boylan's return would be detrimental, but there could be other negative outcomes from a playoff push. With a strong playoff performance, Gordon or Deng could be given an offer from a team under the cap that Paxson does not want to match. That would leave the team losing a major asset for no return. I can also see Paxson feeling comfortable with the squad to the point that he refuses to make any attempt to upgrade the team.
I don't want them to make the playoffs. While it may have the effects of a cold glass of milk on the heartburn that has been this season, in the long run, it could be the worst thing to happen. I still think this team is talented. I also see a need for tweaking that may be avoided if success is found. For the long term success of this squad, time must be made for Noah and Thomas. Even if they don't become what many here believe they could be, and probably already are, the franchise must know what it currently has to best make decisions down the road. A hot run for a couple weeks could leave this team in the exact same situation this time next year.