Chicago Bulls fans must adjust expectations.
The last resolution for the Chicago Bulls is for us fans. Amidst all the struggles this year, there has been way too much “blow it up” chatter being thrown around. It’s easy to say, especially after how this team started the season, but blowing up the Bulls should not be an option.
Setting aside the part where if the Bulls aren’t picking in the top 4, the pick automatically goes to Orlando, what do the Chicago Bulls get by blowing it up? By pressing reset on this team, they lose all of the cache/credibility they spent two years rebuilding to attract future free agents. Not to mention, a rebuild means even more bad basketball not even worth watching as was the case from 2018-2021.
There are plenty of ways to improve this team without actively trying to be bad and tank for the number one pick. The Chicago Bulls can sign for and acquire better pieces that fit with the current mold of their team. They can do a better job evaluating injury history to avoid pitfalls as they did with the Lonzo Ball signing.
They can also just draft better. So far neither the former regime nor this one has shown the ability to draft impactful playmakers. Patrick Williams was taken fourth overall in a tank-year season for the Bulls, and in the process future, all-star point guard Tyrese Halliburton fell to 13. So what good is a bunch of picks if we can’t trust those in charge to use them?
In other years, another tanking team in the Atlanta Hawks actually got a high pick and drafted Luka Doncic…only to then trade him away for Trae Young. Other players like Donovan Mitchell, Tyrese Maxey, Desmond Bane, and others were taken well outside the lottery and are impactful contributors to their respective teams.
The NBA has gotten stuck in the mold where teams are either selling out to win immediately or tanking for the future. Fans for the most part have bought into this ideology, but it takes a top 5 player in the NBA to win a title, and no lottery pick is a guarantee to enter that tier.
There’s value in fielding a competitive basketball team, being a respectable organization, and improving the roster on the margins through the draft until an opportunity strikes to land that game-changing superstar. See: New Orleans Pelicans, Memphis Grizzlies.
This is what the Chicago Bulls must aspire to be. They don’t have an Anthony Davis-like asset to flip for a whole core of young players, and as a result, they shouldn’t be shopping their stars only to yield minimal returns.
My personal expectation for the Chicago Bulls is to be a well-run organization: One that doesn’t need to rely on the number one overall pick to change the outlook of the team and one that can utilize the draft well alongside free agency and the trade market to field a competitive team year in and year out. And as fans, that’s the standard this team should be held to.