Will the Bulls make .500?

[[Note by your friendly BullsBlogger, 01/10/10 7:06 PM CST ] From the fanposts. I missed both games this weekend so I can't really add much. I will say I've been pretty disappointed in the results over the past week, as the Orlando victory had me thinking this team was at least in position to be the best of the bad. Now, not only did they go 1-4 in games against the Thunder, Bobcats, Bucks, and Timberwolves, even that Orlando victory doesn't look too great. At least the schedule remains kind for Monday, with the woeful losing-streaked Pistons coming to town. -ed.]

So if any of you noticed, the Bulls stand 14-20, which is exactly their record last year at this time too.

Of course, we were 14-20 last season with Kurt hurt, Noah in terrible shape, Deng gimpy, Tyrus clueless, and Noc/Gooden instead of Salmons/Miller. Down the stretch we went 27-21 by:
* Going to Tyrus and for a short stretch, letting him play without looking over his shoulder
* Getting a healthy Kirk back
* Noah playing himself into shape
* Making a "win" now trade that cost us tax space to even consider re-signing Gordon, but bringing in three better fitting, more useful players than those who left.

I say that to outline the factors that led to our surge last year. What factors can we point to and say they're going to lead to obvious improvements going forward?

* Kirk's been healthy
* Deng's been healthy, and apparently is no longer healthy. His play is declining and the doctor's prescription for his injury was 6-8 weeks off.
* Tyrus is not being given the run he got last year
* Noah has played the best ball of his career

All this is to say I don't see the factors now that helped us last year. Unless we're going to make a trade that takes on a considerable amount of salary for next year. I suspect if we did that, we could certainly add this year's equivalents of Miller and Salmons and possibly do pretty well. Even that would be quite a gamble though.

There is quite a bit more analysis and statistics after the jump, but the jist of it seems summarized in the thoughts above. Unless the Bulls change the something pretty big, things are not going to happen for them.

We've had a running debate on S2, and I finally got around to looking at the Bulls schedule, and my game by game predictions (which I'm not going to bother to repost here since it's lengthy) landed the Bulls at 32-50. Ick. I successfully predicted our first three losses this week, but if it's any consolation I think we ought to win tonight against the TerribleWolves, who are terrible, also coming off a game last night, and on the road. But back to the bigger picture.

Another consideration is just how the bulls are playing. Following wjb1492's initiative in a game thread a while back, I looked up the Bulls' margin of victory for this year and last year.

Type	W	L	W%		%W	%L	%Type
0-5 9 12 43% 11% 15% 26%
6-10 15 12 56% 18% 15% 33%
>10 17 17 50% 21% 21% 41%

Type W L W% %W %L %Type
0-5 5 5 50% 15% 15% 30%
6-10 6 4 60% 18% 12% 30%
>10 3 10 23% 9% 30% 39%


What it says, I guess, is that the Bulls no longer ever seem capable of winning by a comfortable margin. Because they struggle so much to score, they have very little margin for error. Every game is going to be a nail biter. Unless we're getting our doors blown off, which we seem to do at about last year's rate.

Last year they were slightly worse at close games, but much more capable of winning by wider margins.

If I had to sum it up, I'd guess that Vinny is slightly better at coaching and he's got a crummier team to work with.

Think of it this way. If we made a very rough "quality of win" scale based on these margins, give 3 points for a victory of >10, 2 for 6-10, and 1 for 1-5. Then -1 for a loss of 1-5, then -2 and -3 for the worse losses. The average Bulls margin scale last year was 0.5. The average this year is -2.8.

A final thing I've looked up were our W-L profiles on 82Games. This shows how we do against Good (top 10 record), average (middle 10 record) and bad (bottom 10 record) teams. This year, we were, at last update:


09-10 W L Net
Good 4 9 -11.7
Avg 4 7 -4.9
Bad 6 1 6.7
08-09 W L Net
Good 8 17 -6.8
Avg 16 14 2.9
Bad 17 10 2.2


This year our only positive has been that we seem to really beat up the worst teams. Our net point differential and winning margins against better teams, however, seem quite a bit worse. We used to beat other average teams, now we lose to them more. We used to keep things closer with the better teams.

All of this is to say, there's a lot of evidence, and what it tells me is not to expect the sort of massive turnaround the Bulls experienced last year.

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