In his first entry for BullsOnParade, guest contributor and my good friend @Stehny, airs his thoughts on the short handed Bulls’ dire straits. Read on…
I have often found myself making rash decisions, purchases or statements when I am at my most emotional. Add a bit of sentimentality and I’ve found myself dropping money on sneakers or clothes that, given a few hours to cool off, I most likely wouldn’t have made the same purchase.
Despite all this I’m about to give my thoughts on this Chicago Bulls season at a moment when my emotions are rather stirred. A moment midway through the 4th quarter of a game that includes no Derrick Rose, Luol Deng or Jimmy Butler with the Bulls down thirteen to a truly terrible New York Knicks team. Not exactly the recipe for a rational summary of events.
I was as excited as anyone for Derrick Rose to return this season. I think enough of the player and man to have gotten a tattoo of the guy on my right arm. I too like everyone else was shattered when he went down with a right knee injury in Portland that will keep him out of the rest of this season, not only denying the Bulls at a shot a long Playoff run but also me the chance to see him play both on League Pass and in person when I make my fourth trip to Chicago next March from Australia. The feeling that became all to familiar last season, the feeling of a wasted season, came rushing back to me as the news broke of Rose’s right meniscus tear. I believe the word for that feeling is dread.
I recently heard Marc Silverman, from ESPN’s radio show Waddle and Silvy, remark that he was a Bulls fan who wanted titles. A fan that could enjoy an early December win over the hated Miami Heat for what it was, but in the grand scheme of things it means little in a season such as this.
I agree with Silvy 100%.
I want titles.
That’s where my aim is for the team that I’ve followed for 23 years, because I’m past all the rah rah rubbish that the NBA would preferably refer to as marketing of the game today. There’s a reason I mute Blake Griffin talking about “big dunks” on the NBA BIG advertisements that I see far too regularly on League Pass and why I don’t bother looking at most commercials that the league produces, full stop. They appear to be advertising to children and people that are borderline fans of the game in an attempt to impress them of the spectacle that is NBA basketball. Wins over the Heat are great but a pointless endeavor unless we hold up that trophy for title number 7 in June.
Back to the Bulls, even as Steve Kerr and Bill Simmons picked us as their choices to win the title this year I was skeptical. I realize that last years team was geared with one year deals as the team waited for Derrick to return and thus was deeper than this year’s team. I also think that our last two seasons (2010/11 and 2011/12) that included a “healthy” Derrick, was far deeper than the 2013/14 edition. With bench guys like Taj Gibson, Omer Asik, Kyle Korver, CJ Watson, Ronnie Brewer and even Big Sexy Kurt Thomas, the Bulls second unit played a large part in the Bulls’ league leading records those consecutive years.
This year we have Mike Dunleavy, Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson who are competent backups and that’s about where the support stops. To have to rely on guys like rookies Snell and Murphy, Marquis Teague and Nazr Mohammed to play any significant minutes in a backup role is asking for trouble in my opinion. Now due to the injuries I mentioned earlier, these guys are being thrust into starting roles and more minutes than they should be playing and their abilities simply aren’t up to the occasion. New Bulls fans whipping boy Teague hasn’t come on like the Bulls had hoped, in fact at times he’s looked almost unplayable. Mohammed is 85 years old and has “moobs’ as the boys from Bulls Zone like to call them and Mike James shares the same birth year as Nazr. NOT DEEP ENOUGH. This is the extreme example; in the game against Milwaukee yesterday we had a starting lineup of Nazr, Boozer, Dunleavy, Snell and Hinrich.
WHO DOES THAT LEAVE ON THE BENCH???
I’ll enjoy the season for what it is, a chance to watch my Bulls, keenly observe Tony Snell’s maturation into a rotation player, witness Taj win his first Sixth Man of the Year Award, see Lu make his third consecutive all-star game and maybe see a few extra games come Playoff time. Despite this, the expectations have been lowered to a realistic level. A level that means I won’t send myself to a straight jacket by stressing out over things like Carlos’ stupid pushing fouls, Joakim’s lack of production this year or the fact we ran our entire offense through Mike Dunleavy, Jr. today.
All this said, after clawing their way back from a twenty point deficit, the Bulls have just lost the game in New York by five points after the Knicks were barely able to keep the Bulls’ third string team at bay down the stretch.
Oh and we have just signed DJ Augustin. *Sigh*
Thank god the Knicks and Nets are stinking it up so badly, at least that’s keeping me amused somewhat.