Bulls: Bold Predictions for 2017

If you needed an idea of just how bad the Chicago Bulls are, beyond the masking of Jimmy Butler‘s All-Star production, the last three games without him in the lineup or at full strength,  should give you a pretty eye-opening idea.

The Chicago Bulls are in bad shape, even worse shape than we thought a week ago, evident by their lack of production without their saving grace, Jimmy Butler in the lineup. The last few games immediately conjures two prevalent thoughts in my mind.

The first being, that if the Bulls were without Butler for an extended period of time, they would certainly be a cellar-dwelling lottery team. The second, is that given the apparent path that the team would be on right now without Butler for an extended period of time, why the hell would they dare mention his name in trade discussions?

Jimmy Butler is the Chicago Bulls, he has carried this team of misfits on his back for the last two years, and the thought that the front-office would consider moving him, makes me seriously question their level of competence. Some things need to change for the Bulls this summer, here’s a couple of possibilities.

“BYE, BYE” Fred Hoiberg, Thanks for Nothing

I’ve said it quite a few times over the past two seasons, and I’ll say it again today, Fred Hoiberg is a sitting duck in Chicago. He is in over his head, he should have never been hired in the first place, and if the Bulls continue to flounder this season, back-to-back postseason shutouts should spell the end for “The Mayor”.

The Bulls are a pedestrian 61-61 through Hoiberg’s first 122 games as an NBA head coach, and the Bulls are in certain danger of missing the playoffs again this season, something that the Bulls haven’t exactly been accustomed to before Hoiberg’s arrival from Iowa State.

Hoiberg was the hand picked choice of Gar Foreman to replace Tom Thibodeau at the end of the 2014-2015 season, the hire was made without any other consideration for other available candidates, and that usually doesn’t work out well. Under Hoiberg, who is supposed to be an offensive minded coach, the Bulls have spent the last two seasons in the lower third in scoring in the NBA.

The only leg that Hoiberg has to stand on at this point, is that Gar Foreman’s other hand picked selections last summer, Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade highlighted a dumbfounding reversal of course this past summer, and left the roster unbalanced, without an identity, and severely lacking depth. Gar Foreman is going to save his rear-end if it comes down to him, or his choices that have to fall on the sword for this mess of a team, and waste of a season. The Bulls have dropped each of their last three games without Jimmy Butler in the lineup, or at full strength, they looked awful in those games, and would probably be in the cellar of the Eastern Conference with Philly without him around.

Someone is going to be looking for a new job this summer in that Bulls front office, hopefully it’s all of them, but more than likely with the way that Jerry Reinsdorf operates, it will just be Hoiberg.

Rajon Rondo Will not be Back Next Season

The Bulls signed the veteran point guard to a two year deal this past summer, and promised him the starting role on a team that would compete in the east, with Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade around him for the next two seasons.

None of that has happened, and Rondo will be lucky to make it through this season with the Bulls. If they don’t trade him, or grant him a release before the regular season comes to and end, they almost certainly will this summer. Rondo’s skills have significantly diminished over the years, and his play has been mediocre at best thus far.

At his best, Rondo was a slasher who could create opportunities with his passing ability, and play effective on-ball defense. He was never a productive jump-shooter, and he still isn’t. His defensive abilities have diminished, he is a step or two slower naturally with age and injury, and his passing isn’t what it once was.

When he was benched on December 30, it was made clear that it was Fred Hoiberg‘s decision to do so, and that he wanted to allow his youth players to posses the majority of the minutes in the rotation, rather than continue to get off to sluggish starts with Rondo starting games. It wasn’t until Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade both missed a game, that Rondo was reinserted into the lineup in a reserve role.

The team will likely be moving in the youth direction this summer (and hopefully following through with it this time), and will move on from Rondo and allow other younger players to assume the point guard position.

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