In Denver, after the second of what is now three-straight blowout losses, Vinny Del Negro went off on the team's apparent lack of effort. I didn't watch much of that game, but it didn't appear this is ever a team that won't try hard, since they simply have to in order to be competitive. That's the way it's going to be all season.
And I suppose after a game (or three) where they're not even competitive you can still blame the effort, but I applaud VDN for not going to that well again after Monday night's game. He said it like it is, they were simply overpowered by the Blazers. Despite what your high school coach told you in between towel snaps, team rebounding isn't effort. Maybe individually it is (and if you made it to the NBA, you likely have that covered), but for a team it's having a team of good rebounders. The Bulls don't have them, and were massacred on the defensive glass tonight, with the Blazers getting an ungodly 42% of available offensive rebounds.
The defense looks ordinary and the offense still looks terrible now that the Bulls are on the road playing very good teams. But they won't be for long, and I expect them to win enough to stay near .500 all year. That was the prospect laid out for us on July 1st, and since I got most of my anger out then it's hard to stay that way when things are falling into place.
It is a problem that they're not just losing, but getting blown out (point differential matters). However, Brad Miller can't fade into the sunset this quickly, and Kurt will step up his production to where I'm told "well if you take out November..." by the end of the season, and Salmons won't be his career year again (thus why they call it those) but he won't be his worst. And Tyrus Thomas will come back.
Sure, Vinny will be there to stick him back on the bench and see Hustlin' Taj get completely overmatched. But at least he's grown enough as a coach not to blast his, or the team's, effort too much. Effort's all they have (and all our coach can teach, apparently), they're just not very good.