What Went Wrong for the Chicago Bulls?
The Chicago Bulls are at the bottom of the NBA barrel. The team is 27th in offensive scoring, netting just 105.1 points per game. On the other side of the court, the Bulls’ 112.6 defensive rating is 25th in the Association.
Chicago was never going to be a particularly competitive team. A lack of veterans, a dismal coaching situation, and suspect depth all worked to doom the Bulls.
Lack of Veteran
The Bulls only have one player with more than five years of NBA experience. Robin Lopez has ten years of experience under his build. Ro-Lo had a fine season, but never emerged as a leader in the Chicago locker room.
Beyond Robin Lopez, there was a stark lack of veteran guidance on the Bulls roster. Veterans are an important part of any rebuild. Only four Bulls players have playoff experience, two of whom -Cristiano Felicio and Wayne Selden Jr. - played very minor roles for the Bulls. That leaves just Lopez and Otto Porter Jr. It’s was like Lord of the Flies in Chicago.
Jim Boylen has a lot of valuable coaching experience. Boylen is part of the Gregg Popovich coaching family tree. This didn’t stop a tremendously terrible start to Boylen’s time as head coach of the Bulls.
During Boylen’s tenure was marred by players threatening to not play, calls to the players association with complaints, and open questioning of Boylen’s abilities. Though the waters have calmed, things never really improved. The Bulls went 11-36 after Boylen took the helm.
Boylen is a defensive-minded coach. The current Bulls roster is offensively gifted and hasn’t shown a desire to be an elite defensive team. Boylen could be the compliment to what the team needs, but it is more likely that Boylen will try to make the team something it’s not.
The Bulls are 25th in bench points at 33.5 points per game. Chicago struggled with injuries all year, however. The Bulls have a good starting five but when the bench players enter the game, they are amongst the league's worst.
The entire bench for Chicago is made up of first, second, and third year players. Few of Chicago’s bench players have proven valuable on any of their NBA team. With a loaded free agency this summer, it would be wise for the Bulls to spend their $29 million of free cap space on some proven bench players to propel this talented roster into the playoffs.
The Bulls have a talented roster with potential but these are some major concerns that the front office need to address this summer. The Bulls have their Porter, Markkanen, and Lavine core for the next couple years. If they want maximize this core’s potential than this summer should be a busy one.