By Lamar Battle
Home loss against the Cavs in a game that saw the Bulls seemingly quit.
The Bulls lost in six games to a Cavalier team akin to a wounded animal. Starting power forward Kevin Love was out for the playoffs and starting point guard Kyrie Irving was seriously hampered with an injured ankle.
What seemed to happen was a Bulls team that literally gave up and accepted defeat in front of the home faithful. The once vaunted Chicago defense started taking on water and the players suddenly appeared to forget how to score.
Did coach Thibodeau fail to make the needed adjustments for victory?
Former Bulls coach( as of today) Thibs was the subject of a season long feud with Bulls General Manager Gar Forman and team V.P. of Basketball Operations John Paxson.
Coach Thibodeau was undermined in front of his team from the start of the season ( key players were approached and told the coach does not have teir backs) establishing him as a lame duck coach.
To be fair, Thibs was accused constantly of overworking his players ( possibly contributing to key injuries) and perhaps suffering from a lack of offensive creativity in his play calling.
There were adjustments that could have been made on offense.
But, there is a flip side.
What if the Cavalier game was lost in January when a players mini mutiny almost cost coach Thibs his Job? Bulls players were harping on each other for not working hard enough while simultaneously complaining that that the coach was working them too hard.
What if coach Thibodeau lost his team at that point ( in January) when, after calling for a team practice he was over ruled by John Paxson who suggested instead that the team have a meeting where players could voice their concerns.
These were indeed uncharted waters for the Bulls, an organization that always seemed to avoid the type of coach killing players that always popped up on mediocre teams.
Bulls management has always suffered through acrimonious relationships with their coaches but players rarely if ever got themselves involved.
One thing is certain, when a coach loses his platform as the leader it doesn’t matter much which offensive and defensive schemes he employs.
What if the Bulls lacked the personnel to compete against the Cavaliers of the world ? Pau Gasol was old, Joakim Noah, Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson were getting old and unlike the Cavaliers, Spurs, Blazers, Warriors and Rockets the Bulls possessed only one player who could create for himself and others, ( Derrick Rose).
The NBA is a players league that is changing as we speak. Teams are trending towards 3 point shooting, speed, length and athleticism.
Maybe, just maybe the Bulls were running the sets best suited for their personnel?
What if any moves need to be made by the Bulls to rebound ?
The team has rights to the 22nd pick in this years draft so don’t expect much help there.
The team has immediate needs in rebounding and shot blocking ( for those of us who caught Tristan Thompson’s one man destruction of the Bulls front line).
Basically, playing time has too be found for young players like Tony Snell, Nikola Mirotic’ and Doug McDermott.
Picking up a tall scoring back up point guard would also be a step in the right direction and as hard as it may seem, tough decisions have to be made regarding Hinrich, Noah and Gibson.
This all leads us to the question?
Is the championship window for this current Bulls version closed ?
Answer: How long before LeBron James turns forty?