Cleat Geeks

Bulls on Parade- Playoff hopes slim, time to pack it in? Who’s finding form?

With just a handful of games left on the schedule, the Bulls sit with just a 16 percent chance of making the playoffs in 2016. At this point, would it be in their best interest to pack it in for the draft?

Most would argue that it’s never good for a team to “give up” but I wouldn’t call it giving up. With players like Jimmy Butler battling nagging injuries, Derrick Rose just now feeling like himself, why risk anything when it’s more than a possibility you’ll miss the playoffs.

NBAEasternConferenceThe 2015-16 Bulls have bounced back and forth between mediocrity and brilliance multiple times this season, and at this moment sit a game out of eighth in the Eastern Conference. With four-of-seven games remaining against current playoff teams, including games against Miami and Cleveland, it’s not hard to imagine a world where this Bulls team isn’t playing playoff basketball.

Even with a win over Houston, another decent playoff team from the power-heavy Western Conference, it seems like there’s so much built around what if they get into the playoffs? But do you really want to?

Doug McDermott #3 of the Chicago Bulls Copyright 2014 NBAE Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

Doug McDermott #3 of the Chicago Bulls Copyright 2014 NBAE Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

The team has hope, and the players have stepped up where they need to in those moments of brilliance, but those have been few and far between and it’s been hard to watch for the most part. Easily the most exciting player for the last month has been second-year stretch four Doug McDermott. The sharpshooter from Creighton made his mark in college for his tenacity on and off the glass, and from beyond the arc.

McDermott sits with just a 9.7 points-per-game average in 2015-16 but averaged 14.4 PPG in February, and just over 10 per game in March. With injuries to Joakim Noah (out for the remainder of the season) and Taj Gibson (Ribs), McDermott has been key in some of the bigger Bulls wins over the past two months.

Those two months of play have really shown why McDermott is such a big asset to the organization, with so much promise as not only a sharpshooter but strong presence inside. In just February and March, McDermott scored 20+ points five times, including 30 points in a win over Toronto February 19th.

Where the Bulls have fallen is in end-to-end scoring, only having moments of strong play, and haven’t been the same team at all this season. Some of that can be attributed to injuries, shifts in playing time, but at what percentage does it fall on Fred Hoiberg?

hoibergteam“The Mayor” hasn’t shown the same brilliance he showed at Iowa State, and it’s starting to become an issue not only on the court but off. Most will recall star guard Jimmy Butlers’ calling out of Hoiberg earlier in the season, and though the organization says all is fine in the Windy City, how fine is fine?

This Bulls team started slow and will finish slow, and it’s something that Chicago sports fans aren’t accustomed to anymore. It’s hard to see something of a quick fix for the team, but the off-season will be key, finding ways to make this team strong again.

It’s likely that one if not two, most likely Noah, won’t be back in 2016, but the bigger issue is where does the production come? Rose hasn’t played consistently enough, and with injuries to Butler and other primary scorers, the Bulls need to find bench production in the off-season.

So to say the Bulls should “pack it in” may not be the right wording, but it’s more probable than not that this team won’t play postseason basketball and that’s not the worst thing at this time. An early playoff exit would be a detriment to an already struggling team whereas a quick off-season with a strong draft position could really help next season.

 

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