The Bulls are 41 games into the season. Consider these first-half truths:
Jimmy Butler is having a breakout season; Derrick Rose is playing the most and best since his knees left him; Pau Gasol continues to be a walking double-double; Doug McDermott is showing college wasn’t a fluke; Taj Gibson is healthy; and, rookie Bobby Portis is making the Bulls look draft-smart.
What could possibly go wrong, right?
Well, despite all the positives, the Bulls are 24-17, three games worse than they were a year ago at the halfway point last season.
Hmm, so what’s changed?
For all that’s gone right under new coach Fred Hoiberg’s watch, it sure hasn’t translated to the win-loss column.
Four months into Hoiberg’s tenure, the team is still struggling to find both an identity and an offensive flow. And, the Bulls’ once signature defense is nothing to talk about. Just ask Fred.
No, the 31-point loss to the Warriors exposed every blemish on the Bulls’ facade and revealed them for what they are: An underachieving, non-cohesive group of somewhat-talented individuals who could finish anywhere from second to eighth in the Eastern Conference with no chance of defeating the Cavs in the playoffs.
It also told us what they were under Tom Thibodeau: An overachieving, cohesive group of lesser-talented individuals who on their best day could contend for the Eastern Conference title.
But hey, maybe the NBA is not about winning. The Cavaliers just fired coach David Blatt, who won 11 of his last 13 games—the losses were to the Spurs and Warriors—and was 31-10, 10 games ahead of where he was a season ago.