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The Bulls braintrust actually opened up, letting fans in on their shared delusion
don't worry, they do see problems. And improvements will be made through...more continuity
I will start with something nice: at least the Bulls offered up their executives to speak to the team’s massive (and massively-disillusioned) fanbased. It was through a team media partner, but still: there have been so many years where this or the past regime refused to even do that much.
And it was nice to hear, in the radio hour hosted by 670 The Score, some personal background from both Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley to at least make it seem like they enjoy the job and want to do it well. Their past attitude did not suggest even this base standard.
But then when it got to talking about their team, the conversation didn’t so much go off the rails as it solidified on top of long-established rails, rails that lead to the side of a mountain.
Early in the interview there was some lip service given to the history of the franchise necessitating a championship standard, with Arturas providing rote mantra that a championship is a yearly “quest”.
But then it went back to same small-time talking points, showing low standards with poor metrics to define success with them:
The objectives before last year were:
improve our record against top teams - did that
improve our defense - did that
winning close games - 19 close/late games that we lost
But we are close, and everyone is closely bunched-in in the East
So the objective did not include winning a championship after all. Or even get to the second round (like what was said last media day). Just repeating these after-the-fact benchmarks that are clearly not genuine but more a way to grasp at positives after a disaster of a season.
It’s fitting that while a team already above the East ‘bunch’, the Bucks, traded for Damian Lillard, Karnisovas said they’ll look to improve through…you gotta be kidding me: MORE continuity?!?!
“Another thing for our group next year will be caring about each other and playing for each other…So it’s relationships. This is what we’re going to try to improve because in order to challenge each other, you have got to know each other well. And you have to have relationships.”
And then Eversley - who just a couple weeks ago proved if nothing else he’s in lockstep with his boss on this - dropped a sort-of bomb on the biggest reason that they’re doing a road trip training camp this year:
“What we learned from our team – when we had our exit interviews – they were a team, but they really didn’t feel like a team….It’s almost just like you show up, you go to work, you go home, you show up the next day and you come to work again. They love to play, and our coaches love to coach, and we were a team, but they didn’t feel like they were really really really a team. And that is something that was important for us in the offseason to address. And we’re addressing it from Day 1 in Nashville.”
Oh, god damnit! How can THAT be an important takeaway heading into the offseason? It’s especially aggravating to hear because this nebulous and subjective facet of the team (which is actually not that important) was what you were leaning into already!
You keep nearly all the same players, where the best ones were remarkably healthy all season, plus keep+extend a coach who in an earlier segment was the recipient of a solid ten minutes of effusive praise and lauded as “the best communicator amongst every coach I’ve ever been around”…and this is still a problem? An important problem? And the solution to that problem is to do more of the same?
This is obviously impossible to reconcile and it’s depressing to try.
Though one could be charitable and speculate that they can’t say what they really think, which could be: they really want to radically change things and “improve relationships” by trading Zach LaVine.
And another thing they can’t say but is more upsetting that they believe: their quest is not to win championships, but maybe get a top six seed in the bad conference. And if they can’t reach that, at least give the good teams some competition to use as spin after the season.
In an upset, Karnisovas didn’t say “14-9 after the All Star Break”…though Eversley did. Karnisovas did have a kinda strange anecdote about the team ‘being more together’ when they were ‘sharing meals watching the other play-in games’…but, alas, that was too late to make a difference.
No predetermined winner or even frontrunner in the ‘battle’ for starting point guard between Jevon Carter, Coby White, and Ayo Dosunmu. Again, ironic timing that this was minutes before Milwaukee upgraded their already-much-better PG situation.
In what was similar to his words a few weeks ago, Eversley (and backed by Karnisovas) seemed to put Patrick Williams’s upcoming season on Williams to figure out, and that they’ve done all they can to facilitate his growth.
There was mention of shooting more threes as a way to improve. Co-Host Dan Bernstein - who did get a couple good questions in but is weirdly fixated on removing the Bulls best player - guided the answer towards specifically making DeRozan shoot more threes. But no mention of coaching improvements (‘playing faster’ was mentioned but I think more in the context that it could magically occur), nor any mention of other players, like LaVine, shooting more threes. I’m not sure Zach was mentioned directly at all, now that I think about it.
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