A week ago, Chicago Bulls fans were wondering what the team was going to do to blow the team up. Surely, the roster was going to be changed. After the loss of Derrick Rose to another knee injury and the trade of Luol Deng any hope of a winning season was gone. Some fans even talked about the team tanking in order to get a high pick in this year’s talented draft class.
Funny thing, though. The Bulls did not listen to any of the speculation.
After a loss to the Thunder at Oklahoma City in December, the Bulls owned a record of 9-16. Players were wondering who was the next to go. Reports of coach Tom Thibodeau secretly agreeing to a contract with the New York Knicks were flying around. Rose was reportedly upset that the roster was being overhauled. Things looked bad.
After blowing out the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, the Bulls have won 7 of their last 8 and are 22-10 since that loss to the Thunder and now stand at 31-26, fourth in the Eastern Conference, just a half game behind the Toronto Raptors for third.
Thibodeau always has his teams prepared to play hard. The team rallied behind each other and showed that tanking is not in their vocabulary.
When asked about the tanking situation, Joakim Noah answered in his directly honest way. “[T]hat’s not a real fan to me. You know what I’m saying? You want your team to lose? What is that? But it’s all good,” he said. “We play for a coach that’s … it’s difficult. It’s difficult every day. We grind hard every day, and we give it our best effort every day.”
Grind is the right word to use to describe this Bulls team. They are last in the league in scoring, averaging just 92.9 points per game. They are, however, second in the league in points allowed, holding their opponents to 92.3 points per game.
Opponents know when they play the Bulls they are in for a tough game. Dwyane Wade has had his battles with them and knows firsthand about their toughness.
No matter what goes on, you got to give Thibodeau a lot of credit. You’ve got to give those guys in that uniform a lot of credit. They’re going to fight. So whoever has to play them, you’ve got to have your hard hats on. They’re not going to make it easy on you at all. No matter who’s in the lineup for them, they’re going to go out and give it their all. -Dwyane Wade on playing against the Chicago Bulls
Instead of blowing things up at the trade deadline last week, the Bulls stood pat. They are still right on the edge of the salary cap, and are, in fact, going to use up every last penny they have available. As one of our editors, David Ridderhoff, reported on Thursday, the Bulls are interested in signing sharp-shooting guard Jimmy Fredette. ESPN is reporting that there is “serious mutual interest” between the sides.
Instead of cutting their losses and tanking the season, the Chicago Bulls decided to go full steam ahead into the playoffs and worry about the roster in the offseason. For that, I tip my cap to you, Bullies!