What goes up, must eventually come down. Sometimes, that happens a lot faster than others and the Chicago Bulls‘ fall could portend an even larger slide as the year wears on. They have dropped three straight losses – the last two in blowout fashion – and five of their last six contests.
With little in the way of reinforcements to offer some hope for a turnaround of their recent trends, perhaps major changes are in order.
Up to and including tanking.
“Chicago seems like a team stuck in the middle,” asserts Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, “and right now the franchise is tied for the eighth-best draft lottery odds. The Bulls should consider zagging and joining the Lose-O-Rama for Wembanyama.”
Going For A Unicorn
French big man Victor Wembanyama is easily the most-hyped international prospect since Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic leading up to 2018 and might even rival the build-up for LeBron James in 2003.
Those are not comparisons being made about the Bulls’ next wave of talent.
“With Ayo Dosunmu, Patrick Williams, and Coby White, the Bulls have some promising young talent but no one who can steer the future of the franchise,” O’Connor argues. “Moving veterans could restock their draft assets, add more youth, and give them a better chance to land a center who happens to be generational.”
Calling Wembanyama “generational” might still be putting it a little too lightly with his unique blend of size and skill.
To O’Connor’s point, Dosunmu has stepped up since being drafted in the second round last season, going from afterthought to the Bulls’ starting point guard in Lonzo Ball’s prolonged absence.
White has been on the outs with the new regime since last season and hopes to pump up his trade value have taken a hit as he’s missed the last eight games with a quad injury.
The biggest letdown so far has been Williams who continues to frustrate with inconsistency.
Getting There is Tricky
The NBA adding the Play-In Tournament has meant more teams are trying to compete later in the season. That has led to a closer margin between the top and bottom of each conference than we might see after the trade deadline.
That could play into the Bulls’ hand when it comes to the unenviable task of trying to secure a top pick with the NBA’s flattened-out odds giving a 14% chance at best at pick No. 1.
But all they have to do is have one of the three worst records in the league to have those odds. They are just 3.5 games better than the last-place Detroit Pistons ahead of their home date against the Orlando Magic with the Los Angeles Lakers — who owe their pick to the New Orleans Pelicans — and Houston Rockets lagging in the West.
Complicating matters for the Bulls is, if they tank, they have to lean into it fully since their first-round pick this year is slated to go to the Orlando Magic as the final piece of the Nikola Vucevic trade.
That is unless it falls in the top four – it currently has a 6.8% chance at being No. 1, per Tankathon.com – which could give them even more of an incentive to move their veterans.
Buckle Up, Bulls Fans
The Bulls have been pegged as a prime candidate for a major in-season move but, surely, no one thought we would reach the point of tanking possibly needing to come into consideration, at least not this soon.
It is hard to argue with the notion though – the last time the Bulls were at their most promising, they had a generational talent leading the way in Derrick Rose.