How are we loving that Fred Hoiberg era, huh?
At least he’s not delusional.
Words can’t be minced in the wake of a lost like the one the Chicago Bulls suffered on Tuesday night. 130 points (to a respectable but in all futile 105) is not the kind of “points against” number that anyone involved with the Bulls would like to see.
We’re talking 50 year anniversary season here, 20 year anniversary of the 70-win team (whose season started exactly 20 years ago yesterday…yes, we’re all old now), this is not a good way to salute either of those things.
This isn’t even a good way to salute Tom Thibodeau, though I guess the franchise is beyond such peasantry as yelling from the sidelines and on-the-ball defending at this point. Moreso, they’re into allowing the likes of Cody Zeller into the paint uncontested and Frank Kaminsky jumping over red jerseys for rebounds as if he was still going for extra credit in Geometry 404 in Madison.
Meanwhile, the guy who defined competitive effort for this franchise couldn’t have had a better time with his Cuban bride and “El Presidente” hat.
It was all a mess and the Bulls can’t be embarrassed enough about it. They must steam and not stew. Take pride and nip this defensive laxity in the bud cause if you think Jeremy Lin and Jeremy Lamb can embarrass you, imagine what Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant could do on Thursday.
Anyway…the list. As so:
Things Which Number Less Than The 130 Points the Bulls Gave Up to the Hornets
105 — The number of games Derrick Rose has played since the end of the 2010-11 season. Good God, this really isn’t gonna end well, is it?
80 — The number of seasons that have passed in the life of Bulls rookie Bobby Portis, whose pro debut Tuesday was the only good take-a-way from the game.
102 — Points per game allowed by the Bulls in their first five games this season (3-2). If it holds it would be the highest average in that category for the franchise since the 2008-09 season (102.5 per game)
96.7 — Points per game allowed by the Bulls in their worst season ever by win percentage (.183), 2000-01, Tim Floyd’s last full season as the coach. Interestingly enough, last year’s Bulls, which finished with the 9th-ranked defense in the NBA, gave up 97.8 per game, evidence of how much the Association has emphasized increased scoring in the last 15 years.
77 — The most important number to keep in mind regarding these Bulls, the amount of games left in the season.
I don’t want to be a Delusional Debbie, but it is true that no NBA season is won or lost in five games. Yes, signs of things to come can be seen in one week of play.
Yes, we’ve expected all summer for this team to be more offensive-oriented under Hoiberg while many expecting the defense to be neglected in turn, but the Bulls at this early point — and with such a authoritative piece of evidence as Tuesday night under their noses — have to know just how much defending, defending old-fashioned, as if a gruff, squat, gravel-voiced man is urging you to throughout 48 minutes can make a difference.
Defending like that made a difference through lean years, what do you think it’ll do now that you know how to consistently use space on offense and that you have the best collection of shooters you’ve had in years?
Defense is about effort above all, if you ain’t trying then you dying. If some Bulls want to die already, then we’re looking at a new era that will need to end quickly.
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