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The season isn't a failure until Arturas Karnisovas retroactively moves goalposts to declare it a success
(it's already a failure)
Not much to say about the Bulls when it comes to a day-over-day assessment. I’m
not sure pretty sure who needs to hear this, but unclear that they will: the Bulls are not an inconsistent, ‘weird’ team that can play up or down to competition. They’re just bad, and sometimes in an 82 game season even bad teams win games, and some of those wins are against good teams.
The Hornets beat the Celtics in overtime last night, and nobody is saying how they’re strangely inconsistent.
It’s taxing to dig up exact Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley quotes from their past few media appearances (which covers two years), but the quotes’ meme-ification only speaks to how silly they sounded at the time, they are not distorted or exaggerated.
“continuity and cohesion will have the team better prepared to start the season over other teams” - after last night’s loss, Bulls record is 5-10, sitting in the #8 spot in the draft. This is over a fairly easy early schedule too.
“tough out at home” - their home record sits at 4-6 after they had this favorable two-opponent set of two-game series saw them finish 1-3.
“competitive and better in the clutch” - I guess they’re doing this still? They’ve come back from insane early deficits to make games close, and have a good net rating (though not overall record) in clutch minutes.
“better record against good teams” - this does not matter, at all, and isn’t even consistently applied. But it’s frequently said, so let’s take a look: Against Heat, Bucks, Suns, Nuggets, Thunder they’re 1-5. Also lost to the Mavs, if you want to lump them in as “good”.
“parity will have us in the playoff race” - currently 2 games out of tenth. So I think in AK’s mind this is still true. They were around as far out when he sat on his hands at the trade deadline last year, needing that magical PatBev-led surge to get in the play-in tournament.
“big year for Patrick Williams” - Williams was the 10th man in the game last night.
“play faster and produce a better shot profile” - nope. 29th in pace. They’re technically shooting more threes but still are 20th in the league in 3PAr.
So that’s A LOT of early failures to reach AKME’s even most meager expectations. But perhaps the most important failure is the insistence on “our group” led by the Mid Three turning the corner due to the power of persistence.
Instead, after 11 games one of them has already bailed and cited “three years doing the same thing” as one of his many reasons for checking out.
This is an exact quote now below, from Eversley to tout Camp Cohesion in Nashville:
What we learned from our team was - when we had exit interviews - they were a team, but they really didn't feel like a team...It's almost like you just show up, you go to work, you go home. You show up the next day, you come to work
And here was Zach LaVine answering questions last week about his trade request:
My job is to go out here and play. Simple as that.
Bulls head out on the road now against some tough opponents. They may win some games because it’s the NBA, it happens. But this season is toast, until there’s a Zach LaVine trade. And that may not happen until December 15th at the earliest, and per Marc Stein may not happen “at all” due to LaVine’s low trade value.
I’m not sure that value fluctuates much by his lackadaisical play or being a dildo in public or his agency clowning their way through this trade request. For one thing, the Bulls and LaVine get ample cover for any drama because they’re so irrelevant. But it certainly doesn’t help the Bulls efforts to trick a team into thinking LaVine is worth more than he was in the summer, and Karnisovas is now under internal pressure to settle where he was perhaps not willing to in the offseason.
We all knew that AKME was trying to trade LaVine, but like all things they do it was not a very firm attempt. They instead pivoted to tripling-down and selling us on internal improvement.
That has already failed.
From the LaVine trade return we will see what their new, likely-not-too-ambitious, goals will be. But, man, there may be a lot of maddening basketball until then.
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