This was thought to be impossible as recently as the trade deadline, but: with the Pacers finally taking care of a garbage opponent for once Sunday night, the Bulls have been mathematically eliminated from the NBA Playoffs.
It is the first time the Bulls have missed the playoffs since the '07-'08 season, a period where Gar Paxdorf looked just as incompetent but lucked into a franchise savior in Derrick Rose. It unfortunately may take that kind of luck again to get back into contention.
It truly is a staggering fall, from a preseason where Gar introduced Fred Hoiberg and both of them giddily talked about the championship-level roster ready to take the next step in a modern offense...to now, where we're writing and reading about what a great find Cristiano Felico may turn out to be.
It truly was a wild expectation to not just assume the team would falter a bit, but to the point where they aren't even one of the 8 best teams in the 2nd-best conference. Even with the injuries (and oh man, will there be excuses on that front), it's a fairly epic disaster of a season. The next couple games against the lowly Pelicans and Sixers will be true exhibitions, and hopefully most of the Bulls main players will be sitting. That is, unless there's some 'hey we're above .500 in x amount of years' streak to trot out. What's more to look forward than the product on the court this week is what the players, coaches, and execs (unless they hide?) have to say for themselves.
The last week-plus has been especially a drag, after the Bulls effectively knocked themselves out of the playoffs following a 4-game losing streak. Since then, the Bulls got some dopey wins and the Pacers were awful (once in the same game after a Jimmy leaderball performance), and it was pretty annoying all-around.
So that is why, at least for this thread, it's not reason to be glum. It's a celebration. No need to watch this particular group any more, let alone in a playoff death march. GarPax get some humbling (if they had the capacity to feel shame) and maybe recognize due to the degree of failure how much work they have to do. This, after a year where they did minimal work outside of running out a very good coach. They paid the luxury tax for this, haha.