A 104-90 loss to a slumping Warriors team Wednesday night would seem to signal rock bottom.
But these are the Bulls, and rock bottom is just the next game away.
“There’s no shame in this game,’’ coach Jim Boylen said afterward. “We played hard, we battled, we competed . . . this is not the defining moment of our season.’’
Boylen had better hope it’s not because this is past underachieving territory.
The Bulls have entered the flat-out-embarrassment zip code.
Twenty games usually give an organization a feel of what it has, and the Bulls have a mess with game No. 20 coming up Friday night in Portland.
Offensively, they’re ranked 25th in points (106.2 per game), ninth in three-point attempts (35.2 per game) but only 23rd in three-point field-goal percentage (34 percent). They are 29th in rebound differential per game (-5.1) and 25th in assist differential (-2.0).
The Bulls do rank 13th in defensive efficiency, and they force turnovers, but how good can the defense really be when the team still sports a 6-13 record against a fairly easy schedule?
If there was a stat for dysfunction, however, you’d be hard-pressed to find another franchise that would rank higher.
Despite Boylen preaching hard work and spirit, the locker room is another bad week away from a possible sequel to last season’s mini-mutiny.
So what’s the solution?
Most organizations would fall back on the idea of winning cures all, but the Bulls don’t necessarily fall under the category of most organizations. Vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and Boylen have insisted several times that the players had to take the ball and run with it, setting the stage for a roster change before they explore other scenarios.
The Sun-Times reported Tuesday that general manager Gar Forman will be having the heat turned up on his seat by chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, but a final decision on Forman might not come until season’s end.
As far as the players, no one looks like he needs a change of scenery more than Lauri Markkanen. According to a source, however, he is still deemed all but untouchable.
That leaves the next likely candidate — Zach LaVine — and having to admit that the rebuild is not as far along as first thought.
The combo guard is guaranteed $19.5 million each season through 2021-22, which is not a bad price tag for a player who should be the third option on a playoff team. The Bulls have rookie Coby White also playing that combo-guard position off the bench, and maybe it’s time to unleash the North Carolina product as a starter.
That means trading LaVine for an expiring contract such as Reggie Jackson’s and trying to hit it big in the draft lottery. This isn’t what Bulls fans want to hear or deserve. But maybe it’s time to look at White and second-year big man Wendell Carter Jr. as the foundation pieces along with whomever they draft in 2020.
Either way, something has to change in a season that continues to spiral.