The Bulls looked like the biggest bunch of losers all year. When the #1 Pick is going to be Marvin Bagley III, losing might not be the worst thing. The Bulls were 3-20 and looked god-awful along the way. As a fan, I’m thinking that losing is the best thing possible, 3-20 is a success. I want the most ping-pong balls favoring Chicago when the draft lottery rolls around. I want Hoiberg fired, I want Gar and Pax out of the front office, losing in epic fashion will facilitate this as well, (at least in theory).
Then the Bulls did the unthinkable, they started winning. Finally, now that I am resigned to losing to the point that I’ve made it the goal, this team begins to win. For the post-Jordan-era Bulls fan, this seems just about right. The team never does what you want it to do. I feel a kindred-connection to Jets fans they also went into this season knowing they had zero chance, they expected to get a really high draft pick. Instead, the Jets played well enough to rise above even worse teams. Come the NFL draft the Jets will be locked out of those top picks and the QB they need might be off the board.
For the Bulls the stakes are higher, Bagley III is a franchise changing player. All the missteps, bad trades, bad draft picks, the failure of Derrick Rose, the firing of Tom Thibadeau, can be remedied with Bagley III to build around. Now I have to worry that this team is a little bit too good to be that bad. The Bulls were firmly last in the NBA until this 6 game win streak tripled their win total, now they pull ahead of Atlanta and Dallas and are tied with the Kings and Grizzlies.
Why is this happening? I think for one, they have been playing only eastern conference teams, and the east is pretty crappy. Teams take them lightly because they are the Bulls, nobody really scares you. They don’t have an all-star or anything even resembling one. They are young and playing hard. For the players on the court, there is no incentive to tank, they all want to win. Guys who looked lost early on have picked it up, particularly Kris Dunn. Portis and Mirotic are both back now and each has seemingly come out of their altercation without any bad blood. This Bulls team is not good but take them lightly and they can make you pay.
I don’t expect this win streak to go on much longer. They get the Cavs and Celtics in the near future. The damage has been done, I don’t think the Bulls can finish as the worst team in the NBA anymore. They will still be one of the worst but it’s going to take a little more luck to land Bagley III than I had originally hoped.