After that loss in Charlotte on Tuesday, I've dialed down my enthusiasm for the team significantly. Perhaps you can tell given the gamethread-only second half of last week?
Winning those two home games against pretty awful teams (especially considering those who didn't play on each squad) didn't change much of that attitude, unfortunately.
This team has enough talent to win a few. They're not being coached, so they'll lose a few. While (as of Sunday afternoon) they have a half game lead and sole possession of the 8th seed, with 3 road games against good teams this week they can easily lose that 'stranglehold'. And probably will.
But with an easy ending schedule and underwhelming competition for that playoff spot, the Bulls will still probably make it. It doesn't matter.
I don't mean "it doesn't matter" in the perspective that only championships matter and the Bulls aren't winning a championship. A playoff 'run', no matter how brief, is better than barely missing. Important for Derrick Rose to get more games, and take part in a playoff atmosphere, get more pub on national TV, etc.
But, considering that Charlotte loss had me abandon hope of a 6th seed, with Vinny in a playoff series the Bulls are going to get waxed. Absolutely crushed. I have zero confidence in any series against the Cavs, Celtics, or Magic that they'll come out with any scheme or matchup adjustment (creation?) that will narrow the talent gap in any respect.
The Bulls will look good if their shooters are hot, likely in one of the home games. May not even be enough for a win unless they're up large to the point where the lead can't be blown. But otherwise they'll look like a group of roster spots playing against actual teams. Disorganization further widening that talent gap to embarrassing levels.
Is that really playoff experience? Not really. Vinny's going to be fired 20 games into next season, and then we can get on with forming a real squad (one likely without Ben Gordon, here's to self-created obstacles!), and the 2009 playoff team will have little significance to what that new squad will become.
But while it doesn't matter if they make it, it similarly doesn't matter if they don't. Late lottery draft pick: meh. Maybe it increases the likelihood of the Org. seeing the need for a coaching change, but I doubt it: they're too talented to have an epic collapse, and there will be advocates noting the Bulls improved record and Vinny's rookie status as reasons to give him another chance. In fact that faction's already begun formation.
So dealing with two equally pointless scenarios, might as well root for that playoff appearance, right? Playoffs are fun, seeing more Bulls games is fun. Maybe we'll see a stolen game with a hot (yet stand-still and my-turn) offense, the kind of game that we'll see as they get in the playoffs over stretch run of the season. Probably.