Is it over yet?

basketball stockI have no idea which prediction that I have made has turned into the bigger laugh factor. It’s between my original NCAA bracket and my preseason predictions about the Chicago Bulls. Going into March, I did not even want to make a bracket for this NCAA Tournament based off of the crazy conference play that had happened throughout the season. Syracuse wasn’t even supposed to make it into the tournament and somehow they made it to the Final Four in Houston. The NCAA has put us on a rollercoaster, but not so much as the management of the Chicago Bulls.

Honestly, reread my preseason post about the NBA and have a good laugh. Cavs taking the title? The Bulls being the number two seed with 50 wins? Bulls playing offense like Golden State? The Student Activities Board might as well send me the contract for next year’s LOL @ UIC. I seriously had some modest aspirations. I mean yes, they changed coaches, but with the same exact players intact, who would’ve expected things to change so dramatically? Derrick Rose has even been healthy for the most part; it was the dream scenario.

The problems began before the season even started. The new coach came in and took the heart and soul out and then put it on the bench in the form of Joakim Noah. Benching a former MVP candidate still doesn’t make sense. I’ve tried to rationalize the idea of it being equivalent to Steve Kerr benching Iguodala, but it still doesn’t make sense.

After Noah was benched and subsequently out for the season with an injury, there was Jimmy Butler who came out and basically said that he missed Coach Thibs. When Mr. Butler said that no one is being held accountable and no one is being pushed hard enough, it was code for, “I miss you, please come back,” like reminiscing about that one ex that got away.

Jimmy then had a meeting with the coaching staff, but even then, the Bulls continued to flounder out of the picture. Coach Hoiberg was supposed to come in with the offensive guru-ness of a Mike D’Antoni, but it seems like he left his magic at Iowa State. The Bulls are currently ranked 26th in the league in Hollinger offensive efficiency rating; that is compared to Coach Thib’s 10th ranked offense the year before. Defense is currently at tied for 16th in defensive efficiency per game compared to Thib’s 9th ranked defense the year before. Again, let me point out, same players, different coach.

The Bulls are currently on the outside looking in on the playoff picture, but with slim chance that we do make the playoffs, our giftwrapped present will be shaped in the form of LeBron James and the Cavs. It’s basically a lose-lose scenario; we make it to the playoffs and get destroyed, or we snap the playoff streak and hope for a 2008 like lottery/draft.

With all that happening, there are now talks about exploding the team and starting from scratch, which includes trading the young forming superstar Jimmy Butler. Essentially what Bleacher Report and Yahoo Sports are saying is that the plan is to build around the COACH, Fred Hoiberg. I’m not a young Jerry Colangelo or Pat Riley, but I’m pretty sure that in order to build a successful franchise, you build around the players and not a coach. Unless a spry Phil Jackson or Red Auerbach is walking through the door, there is no way you build a franchise around the coach.

As a result of possibly building around the coach and building “for the future,” I will not be surprised if we see the return of the great 1999-2002 Bulls. Yes, the one that featured the rising star, Eddy Curry, and the genius like coaching of Tim Floyd (who, coincidently, just like Fred Hoiberg, came from Iowa State. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up). I imagine Tom Thibodeau sitting with his Coach of the Year Award and laughing at the foolishness that is taking place.

I was wrong about the Chicago Bulls, took a lot of courage to admit that. Maybe one day, fingers crossed, the upper brass of the Bulls will admit the same about dismal departure of Coach Thibs.


Christian GrayChristian Gray is a senior majoring in marketing with a focus in promotion and communications and a minor in economics. He is president of the Student Activities Board. When he’s not planning events or doing schoolwork, you’ll catch him watching something sports related (#KOBE) or vibing out to music. His career goal growing up was to be Batman. He won’t tell you if he was successful on that mission, but let’s be real ­– have you ever seen him and Batman in the same place before?

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