I don’t think the Bulls have ever recognized how exciting it is for fans to see anything “new”. Doesn’t have to be big, but since “building a championship contender” clearly isn’t in their ambitions (let alone capability), at least give us something to watch and talk about. That’s part of the reason the fanbase gets all red-faced (with yours truly as a crimson charge) with their inactivity: if you’re not going to be good, at least be interesting.
Perhaps they recognize this, though of course too little and too late, when bringing in Patrick Beverley. The purposeful tank - which involves shutting down DeMar DeRozan, I think the rest of the team would take care of the rest - was never going to happen. They have outright told us they don’t have the vision, confidence, or aptitude to correctly self-assess the team and try to steer towards a better long-term asset.
So if gunning for that number 10 spot is what they want to do, might as well try it with this loon.
And, I’ll be damned: even a cold observer like myself is at least somewhat interested in how Beverley performs on the court and in the locker room.
Initially, I was a bit too dismissive in Beverly’s off-court impact. I said that Beverley wore out his welcome in Minnesota - a scenario which the Bulls are trying to recreate, sad as that may be - and other places because I read what he says and see what he does and roll my eyes. But I am but a beta blogger, and NBA Players, built different , eat that shit up.
Beverley has certainly not been changed by a poor season so far and subsequent dumpage by two teams. He came in, hot.
And he agrees with Arturas Karnisovas on the attitude that you don’t have to be better, the other teams just have to be worse:
I figured I could make a playoff push with the Bulls right now and kind of pump them up a little bit. The East is kind of weak.
But Beverley disagrees with one of AK’s other stated tenets: creating change to the locker room is bad. So why bring in a guy who is not only looking to change the locker room, but take it over?
That’s not too complicated or secretive a question: AK doesn’t know what he’s doing.
What was more fascinating was how the current Bulls reacted to this. They revealed a team that has no leadership, neither from the stars or the head coach.
AK admitted at the deadline that the team was complacent and both he and Donovan have ‘tried to engage’ them to no avail. Every press conference we hear Donovan explain what is lacking on the court in great detail, but never actually offer what he can do about it.
DeRozan, the team’s best player, is also excited for what Beverley can bring,
He’s not coming at it in a malicious way or harmful, negative way. He’s pushing you to want to be great. He’s a veteran guy and he does a lot of talking like the old-school days. And I love that.
But this paled in comparison to what Zach LaVine, the team’s best-paid player, had to say. LaVine has been more outgoing than DeRozan in his frustrations this season, and wasn’t shy in admitting there’s a leadership vacuum:
“I was trying to get Pat here at least a year or two ago. You know what he brings, the type of mentality he brings. We’ve been missing that, and I think we’ve been missing that since Thad (Young) was here, a vocal leader, somebody who is very out and open about how he thinks about things and how he approaches the game...he’s going to be great for all of us. He holds people accountable from the best player on the team to the coaching staff to the film guys, all the way down to the guys on the two-way contracts. That’s what you want. I think that’s what we needed.”
And then look at this quote regarding LaVine:
“This will be a great opportunity for Zach. I challenged him. This has got to be the ‘Zach LaVine Come Out’ party. “
Oh, wait, sorry, that’s not from Patrick Beverley. That’s from Tristan Thompson last season.
Zach’s words are praise for Beverley, but also a pretty big self-own. Furthermore, it’s an indictment on others:
- The coaching staff (they can’t get LaVine to shoot more, so PatBev has to try it?)
- Other ‘veterans who will help the locker room’ like Andre Drummond and Goran Dragic, the latter of whom was someone who tried to challenge LaVine earlier this season.
Look at them: Patrick Beverley is the captain now.