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This Bulls season was a failure (even at failing), though John Paxson will insist otherwise

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The season is over! just one awful press conference to go

Charlotte Bobcats v Chicago Bulls Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With this season mercifully over, the Bulls are holding their annual postmortem Thursday at 11AM Central. You can watch it live if you can stomach it. At least it’s not like the 2016 version where they hastily did it after a final game nobody cared about.

Instead, while it’s scheduled, it’s after 25 games nobody cared about. John Paxson* could use this opportunity to communicate to the fans that it’s been mostly a waste. There’s little downside: you can blame injuries (real and made-up), it’s not like failures imply they’re accountable with their jobs in any way, and by pledging to do better they can show perspective and self-reflection.

*[interesting - a relative term with this team - that no Gar Forman mentioned.]

Instead, we should expect something similar to what Paxson said after the trade deadline, and again in this March 28th interview with State Television: “actually, things are going as planned, it’s been a productive season just unlucky, and it’s on the fans to be patient and have faith this is a good PATH”.

But with (no) apologies to this garbage column at FanRag: this season was a failure. That’s a triggering word, but it doesn’t mean to be absolute. There were some positives:

  • Lauri Markkanen rules, and though likely initially hindered by the team’s self-sabotage and the rookie wall finished the season quite strong, not that we paid attention. And he’s only just about to turn 21. As always, it’s important to not give the Bulls credit, but we can still acknowledge: GOOD PICK
  • The Portis-Niko fiasco turned out firmly non-disastrous. Considering that at that time I was ok with just cutting Portis and thinking the whole locker room would be torn apart otherwise, they slow-played it well in giving Niko time to prove his worth and then getting decent value in a trade. Plus Portis himself developed into a keeper, if you can get past his demonstrable asshat-ness (can I?). It’ll never be a good thing that the face-breaking happened, and it certainly laid a big dump on the Bulls ‘culture’ propaganda, but the outcome was ok.

But overall this year was mostly total shit!

  • First and foremost - a total garbage product for us to consume all year, forcing the fanbase into a lose-lose situation and making everyone dumber though tanking discussions.
  • The ‘big’ ‘three’ never received a meaningful sample of minutes together
  • They don’t know any more about Zach LaVine heading into restricted free agency
  • They barely know more about Kris Dunn, though as he looked improved in those magical weeks of the “Niko’s back” era, it was in little more total minutes than the supposed ‘redshirt’ season ‘buried’ under Tom Thibodeau. If we’re to throw that out that year, I guess we’re to do so with this too. Bummer!
  • They didn’t churn the roster as much as a tremendously inexpensive and ‘flexible’ team should to find new talent off the scrap heap, outside of David Nwaba (who’s a restricted free agent as well). They used their cap space mostly to hand out money for loyalty, and in the end saved a galling amount of money this season as they ‘reset’.
  • The guys who are on the bottom of this roster also had no useful evidence, because the team was purposefully losing games by sabotaging the lineups on the court. This also applies to judging Hoiberg’s coaching acumen. Did he keep the team engaged? The goal was to lose, so who knows and who cares! On the bright side there was some hilarity seen in the Bulls being publicly shamed for their hamfisted strategy. By the way, Robin Lopez sat out the final 4 games completely healthy. Should we expect GarPax to be fined and potentially exiled?
  • They even didn’t lose enough games to get in the potential-superstar tier of the draft, a reported ‘goal’. Though the player selected can perhaps be a superstar through lottery luck and scouting, it won’t change the outcome of this particular task. And relying so much on luck isn’t much of a plan, and thus a dumb goal regardless.

I don’t expect the Bulls to acknowledge much, if any, of this fiasco, and maintain their usual focus of self-preservation by repeating excuses and cliche. They’ll say that this offseason will be huge, and that’s true, but this past season was a waste. At least, since it’s expected, we can play along with GarPax presser bingo.