Well, that game sucked. Tonight’s no-show against Sacramento reminded everyone why tanking was so popular a month ago. Sacramento’s vaunted defense was giving up an average of 104 points per game. Against that extraordinary unit the Bulls managed to reach 70 points with 29 seconds remaining. Wow.
Of course one game isn’t very important. Last season the Bulls responded to an even more putrid performance in Sacramento by dismantling Golden State. The Bulls sit in the 6th position, right where I predicted they’d end up two weeks ago. However, if this two game losing streak becomes a slide, is there a point where management should bail reaching the playoffs and instead try to add talent for next year? Yes, if the Bulls lose 5 of their next 6 games, they should make trades with an eye towards 2014-2015.
The Bulls play 11 more games in February with 7 on the road and 8 games against teams above .500 plus another against resurgent Brooklyn. It wouldn’t be surprising for the Bulls to go 3-8 or worse, ending February at 26-32 or so, falling into the scrum of face saving welterweights trying to salvage seasons by crawling into the playoffs. That’s the most unappealing place for the Bulls to be, no?
Decision time, comes early, with 6 of those games before the February 20th trade deadline, including key matchups against Atlanta, Brooklyn and Toronto. If the Bulls go 1-5 over this stretch, they will be at 24-29, probably sitting in 8th place with Detroit and Charlotte at their heels. If the Bulls continue to flounder, they should set Mike Dunleavy free and force Butler and Snell to develop for the team to make the playoffs. If Snell and Butler improve, the Bulls now know they can depend on their contributions next year. If not, bring on the 10th pick of the draft and free agency.