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Wade’s great, Rondo’s not in Bulls loss to the Knicks

Four takeaways from Bulls/Knicks

NBA: New York Knicks at Chicago Bulls David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Last night was the weirdest viewing experience of my Bulls fandom, bar none. Caught between rooting for the team I presently care about and the players that were solely responsible for making me care in the first place. I imagine I wasn’t the only one in those shoes last night.

Then there was the tribute video. Oh man, the tribute video. My favorite team put together a video package of my favorite players with supporting music from my favorite song by my favorite artist. And it was perfect.

The game itself — depending on who you ask, I suppose — was not so perfect. I had a few thoughts and takeaways from it, and I would like to share them with you.

  • Why is Rajon Rondo here, exactly?

Many have asked that exact question since the moment the Bulls announced they were signing him this summer. We need more time to fully develop any definitive answers, but the early returns are, uh, horrendous. To my eyes, Rondo’s basically good for helping in the rebounding department (which, I will say, is fairly important) and also being a ball mover, which is substantially different from being an effective passer, of course.

Last night, Rondo was 2-10 from the field finishing with 4 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists to go along with 2 turnovers and a steal. He finished -17 in +/- in 29 minutes. He had virtually no impact on the game and hardly gave any effort defensively. He offered zero resistance to Derrick Rose who went on to record double-digit assists for only the sixth time since the start of the 14’-15’ season, which covers a span of 122 games.

I’m willing to give Rondo a little more time and hear out those who insist he’s too smart a basketball player to not eventually figure it out. However, among players who’ve recorded 100 minutes played this season, he’s damn-near last in the league in true shooting percentage (TS%), per Basketball Reference. That’s my worry, and I don’t see that problem correcting itself anytime soon.

  • Thank goodness Dwyane Wade is here

A tweet from our friend Nillz over at the Bulls Show summed it up perfectly:

I think we’re all sort of anticipating Wade’s unbelievable 3-point shooting to eventually decline, but, like, what if it doesn’t?

  • Bobby Portis isn’t ready for NBA minutes right now

I wrote at length about Bobby Portis last season, and in that piece I highlighted Portis’ flaws. Namely, the fact he plays with zero flow offensively, which translated into him becoming a ball stopper, and also how he struggled mightily on defense. Portis picked up two fouls in three minutes of action last night (one of which led to an and-1) and finished an impressively bad -10 in +/-.

Garbage time minutes are fine, but I don’t think it’s too early to suggest that D-League minutes might be what’s actually best for Portis.

  • I kind of like this team?

I was very down on this team heading into the season, admittedly. But they’ve played a brand of basketball that’s pretty darn fun to watch through five games. They move and share the ball, and it seems as though they actually care about one another. A novel concept, right?

Robin Lopez and Taj Gibson remind me of the NBA’s version of the Dudley Boyz. Ready to bash skulls and put someone through a table if need be. I look forward to each-and-every minute of both Nikola Mirotic and Cristiano Felicio. Jimmy Butler’s doing Jimmy Butler things. Wade’s awesome. I’m not sure how to make sense of it yet, but I think I like this team.