The Bulls were reeling a bit before going on this road trip, and there was thought that maybe the time away from home would galvanize them a bit. That likely was impossible given all the injuries the team incurred, as what really brings a team together is success. But it just shows how bad things have gotten since then, a 2-5 trip ending with a thud in Charlotte.
Some interesting stuff coming from the Bulls locker room as a result. Here was Pau Gasol before the game Monday:
There's not a-holes on this team. Sometimes it is useful that a guy gets on somebody else's [case] just to make him react or do better and not take it personally. There's a fair argument that that's something that could be used and it could be useful, and it is useful at times. But we don't have that type of personality in the team here, in that way. You could approach a guy and say, 'Hey, let's just try to do this better, let's just pick it up, let's try to figure this out.' Communication, it's important. I don't think you really have to say, 'What the F, wake the F up.' Some guys are comfortable using that type of language but I'm not going to do that.
And then Taj Gibson after the loss:
It's a great group of guys. Guys come and do the work. It's just a different group from what we had in the past. We had straight defensive guys, hungry dogs. Now we have guys coming in, offensive-minded, shoot the 3. ... We used to be scrappy. Now we're trying to mold these guys into getting scrappy. Every game is rough because we're still trying to get guys to talk. And you would think talking would be the easiest thing, right? Every day we're just trying to get guys to talk. It's frustrating, but what can you do? Right now, a lot of teams smell blood; you just got to figure out a way to get over it. In this league, nobody's going to feel sorry for you. That's the thing.
The 'dogs' mention reminded me of this, heh.
In that piece, Nick Friedell lays the problem at the feet of GarPaxDorf, whose recent acquisitions are nearly all poor defenders (even Snell, who's ok on D, isn't a talker and good team defender) and the guys Taj is calling out. But also they assembled this roster that's seemingly devoid of leadership coinciding with a laid-back coach. You have to question the ability of Hoiberg as well given that he's supposed to be a leader, but all coaches need some help from the team.
What ultimately helps is getting players healthy, of course. I don't think Taj is necessarily correct in his assessment of the team when they have more NBA players available, but it's completely valid and worth noting that the players who are still playing feel this way about the current state of the team.