Chicago Bulls: New Year, Same Problems Within The Organization
Unfortunately for the Chicago Bulls, it seems the organization did not manage to leave behind its problems in 2016.
New Year, new me? Not when it comes to the Chicago Bulls.
2017 is here and the franchise is still a hot mess.
While the argument could be made that the year just started and we are yet to even hit the halfway mark of the 2016-17 NBA season, fans should not hold their breath.
Might the Bulls pull off a notable deal at the trade deadline? Perhaps. May they make the postseason this time around? Possibly. But in a way, who they have on their roster and what their record reads at the end of the year does not even matter.
That is because the problems Chicago is dealing with go way beyond player performance and team league ranking. The heart of the matter begins within the organization itself.
The most glaring issue currently being the drama surrounding Rajon Rondo.
Now, before you jump the gun, it is a well-known fact that Rondo has faced a great deal of controversy over his 10-year career. Between slugging players in the face and partaking in shouting matches with coaches, the guard has long been labeled a bad boy.
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And yet, he seemingly turned things around last summer when he signed with the Bulls.
From showing excitement over joining the organization while taking over its official Snapchat, to making it clear time and time again that Chicago would remain Jimmy Butler‘s team, the 30-year-old appeared ready for a fresh start.
But unfortunately, history seems to be repeating itself. Instead of writing a new book with the Bulls, Rondo has only added another chapter to a repetitive tale.
The difference being that this time, he has not done anything wrong.
No, the only thing Rondo is to blame for, is thinking the organization could change. A line of thinking members of the media, fans, and beyond, have also fallen victims to.
For reasons still unknown, head coach Fred Hoiberg made a choice in benching one of his three Alphas, last Friday against the Indiana Pacers. A league superstar, Rondo only played 10 minutes during the first half of the matchup and has not seen time on the court since.
So what does Hoiberg have to say for himself?
To nobody’s surprise, not a whole lot … in quantity or substance.
“As of right now, yes. We’ll continue to monitor the flow of the game. We may change that but as of right now, that’s the plan. We haven’t really gotten that far, as for that particular conversation. But again, he’s handled it great to this point. I’m sure if it comes to that, he’d handle it well also.”
According to Rondo however, the discrepancy lies somewhere in Hoiberg agreeing to let him call plays and him not being “fast enough.”
(The kicker being that out of everyone on the team, he is the only one that could potentially make Hoiball work … a system, that by the way, had no place in the NBA from the start.)
So what now?
Well, Rondo will seek a trade at the deadline, if things do not change soon.
Many people are wondering how Chicago got here, after having one of their most successful offseasons in years, moving on from Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, bringing aboard Rondo, Dwyane Wade and Robin Lopez. But the answer is quite simple.
As usual, the front office had no real plan for the future. Instead, it was just throwing things against a wall until something stuck.
For example, while their summer motto seemed to be “get younger and more athletic,” they brought on a 30 and 34-year-old to be stars of the team.
They also drafted Denzel Valentine, a guy who unfortunately has had his fair share of knee problems.
Additionally, they figured they could essentially swap out Rondo for Rose, not stopping to think how vastly different their games really are.
While both may have fast feet, Rose is a shooter, putting up an average of 25.0 points a game in his prime in 2010, and still averaging 17.7 points now with the New York Knicks.
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On the other hand, Rondo has always been known as a playmaker, dishing out 11.7 assists per contest in 2011 with the Boston Celtics, and averaging 7.1 assists currently.
Apples and oranges.
Meanwhile, although Wade is currently averaging 18.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists a matchup, he was forced to sit out on Monday night against the Charlotte Hornets with a swollen knee. His teammate Butler, on the flip side, scored 52 points in 38 minutes.
Three Alphas having three very different starts to 2017.
But the organization, of course, staying very much the same.
As long as management remains unchanged and Hoiberg continues to coach, the Bulls will never truly be successful.
Even with a roster full of big names, and a likely run at the playoffs, problems within the organization will continue to plague Chicago, overshadowing any potential the team may have.