WARR contributor Josh Hicks offers his thoughts on the Chicago Bulls and the NBA
This past week in the NBA was historical, no two ways about it.
Russell Westbrook tied Michael Jordan’s seven game span for the longest streak with consecutive triple-doubles. James Harden recorded his 14th triple double, tying hall-of-famer Hakeem Olajuwon as the leader among Houston Rockets in recording triple doubles. It took Olajuwon over 1,000 games to accomplish that goal. Harden, however, only needed 340 games.
And we cannot forget about LeBron James putting up historic numbers only fit for a King, reaching the plateau of 27,000 points, 7,000 assists and 7,000 rebounds for his career, the first player to ever do so. But when it comes to history, there is always the good and the bad, the sublime and the mundane. As of late the Chicago Bulls have been on the bad and unremarkable side of things.
The Bulls may not have had any extended bad losing streaks, but they have been pretty stuck within a cycle of playing good against great teams, and below average against the bad teams, playing with the tendency of an unfocused mentality. The Bulls have started games aggressively and often times have had big leads, but when the starters rest and the bench enter in the game, the leads vanish.
A prime example of this was in former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau’s homecoming this on Tuesday against his young Minnesota Timberwolves. The Bulls were up as much as 21 points after the first quarter, but the young Wolves under the aggressive play of their young trio: Andrew Wiggins, Zach Lavine and Karl Anthony-Towns, stormed back and took the game away from the Bulls.
Chicago’s bench, or lack thereof, played a huge part in that loss, having been inconsistent since the beginning of the season, and they were really exposed that night defensively. Their lethargy and lack of athleticism contributed to the continuous defensive struggles within the second unit, allowing the youthful energy of the T-Wolves to make an epic comeback. Those elapses make it difficult for the starters to come in and pick up the slack, especially against a young team like the T-Wolves.
The Bulls also have had issues with the point guard position. With recent health issues creeping up on Rajon Rondo and the lack of offensive production between Isaiah Canaan and Jeremy Grant, the offense becomes difficult to run, and often times becomes stagnant, especially when the ball is in either Wade or Jimmy Butler’s hands.
But we also have to consider the fact that the Bulls, a team that depends most on aging vets, are playing a lot of back-to-back games. Fatigue has played a role in formulating this inconsistent skid. Wade has been in and out of the lineup to rest his aging body, but those off-nights off disrupt the rhythm that the Bulls have to constantly find on the fly.
With it still being early in the season, the Bulls are not yet in panic mode, but there are many continuous issues that coach Fred Hoiberg has to figure out in order to put his team back on track. Not just on the winning side, but from an efficient production side as well.
Joshua M. Hicks is a sports writer and broadcaster and a recent graduate of Roosevelt University, follow him on Twitter @jhicks042