Today is 2017 Bulls media day. A sure to be groan-inducing experience for all Bulls fans as we hear the same people tell us they’re going to fix the very mess they’re continually making.
The brief press availability with Doug Collins may have been a peek at a disturbing mindset coming from the Bulls higher-ups. We know that they refuse to embrace even the first correct step: admitting mistakes. Then, if maintaining a solid path, they’d go to the next steps of finding new voices to help run the team and then firing themselves and going away forever in shame. Instead, they’re putting out there the notion that fan dissatisfaction is mere ‘narrative’ that produces incorrect perspective. Stephen Noh of The Athletic properly and thoroughly eviscerated this ploy, detailing in response what’s truth over perception: the Org. been screwing up for years and there’s justifiably no confidence in them reversing that trend. ESPN recently ranked them as having the worst ‘future ranking’ in the league after having them in the top-10 from 2010-2015.
Which brings us to the dawn of this upcoming season, a moment they’ll maintain is part of a new path that fans need to be patient for. But they’ve already screwed it up to where we instead we should maintain skepticism and hostility.
To summarize this new path for the Bulls:
- They didn’t have to rebuild in the first place, only through ineptitude putting themselves in a position to where they ‘had’ to move one of the top 10-15 players in the league, in his prime, who was signed to an affordable contract for two more seasons, and wanted to play for your team.
- Then in having Jimmy Butler be their one major trade chip, totally botch the timing and return of the deal.
The 2017 draft will have ramifications for years. The Bulls, purportedly deciding to rebuild, and after cashing in their far-and-away best asset, wound up not only with no future draft picks, but fewer picks than they started the night with (after selling the 38th overall pick for cash).
As a result, the Bulls best future asset became their own draft selection, which only gets better by the current team being terrible. That’s an awful insult to the fanbase and should be admitted. Not after vague-if-leading questions like ‘well John, we know what’s happening here...’ , straight-up acknowledged: you put your fans in a position where it’s in their interest to want the team to lose.
Tanking is gross, not merely due to competitiveness of a team among a league of them, but the cognitive dissonance it puts fans in. You see it everywhere, including this page: bad is good, failure is progress, be woke and realize every Bulls victory is contradictory to this path.
This sucks! How do you even measure success, if success is contradictory to an ultimate goal? Does the coaching of Fred Hoiberg have any relevance if his inability to lead a team instead deems him a good ‘tank commander’? Does the front office getting pantsed on trades for years get ‘well, actually’ when it means more bad players getting minutes meaning more losses?
Even lauding the tank is giving GarPax too much credit: forget our narrative, they think they did pretty damned good on this Butler trade, and have accumulated multiple ‘lottery picks’ under a coach who finally has a young mold-able roster to work his magic.
But if they’re right in their talent evaluation (which would be a reversal in latest trends to be sure!), then they’re actually then wrong in the eyes of the tank-humpers, I guess? So if Kris Dunn is the star point guard they thought he was in the 2016 draft, and Lauri Markkanen luckily (since they didn’t actually scout him much, heh) is the Finnish version of Dirk, fans have to then get antsy as some wins pile up and lottery balls decrease? Is bringing back Nikola Mirotic on a solid contract actually harmful because he’s too good of a player?
It’s a no-win situation for Bulls fans, yet a no-lose one for the front office. They’ve secured their jobs while making us twist ourselves into rooting for failure, even removing the perverse joy in thinking that failure would get them fired. It’d be somewhat consoling if they at least were forced to admit it.