Monday, April 22, 2024

Proof That Tanking Is The Best Option For The Chicago Bulls


The All-Star break is now in full effect, and it could not have come at a better time for the Chicago Bulls. Losers of a season-high six straight, the Bulls were getting more unbearable to watch by the day. Their latest defeat came at the hands of the short-handed Milwaukee Bucks, and although Chicago was missing their superstar and All-Star DeMar DeRozan, the effort was still despicable as it’s been all season long. With 23 games remaining, the Bulls find themselves two games behind the Toronto Raptors for a play-in spot, so they’re currently slated to miss the playoffs entirely. Recent analytics show that even though Chicago only retains their 2023 draft selection if it is in the top-4, it still might be the best option for them to chase.

Playoff Hopes Dwindling

The Bulls have been far beneath expectations all season long, and the trade deadline was seen by many as the final straw. Chicago opted to “stand pat” as one of only two teams in the entire NBA not to make a single transaction and have still yet to make any moves in the buyout market. Although Russell Westbrook, John Wall, and Patrick Beverley remain possibilities to join the team for the remainder of the season, opting to stick with the current roster and possibly even pull some starters from the rotation may be the best option at hand.

With playoff odds rapidly declining, dropping from 22% down to 15% after back-to-back losses, the Bulls may need to consider tearing it all down. Their best player is in the backend of his prime at 33 years old and seeking a new max extension with only one year left on his deal. Zach LaVine has proven this year that he’s not worthy of building a team around and will need a newly constructed roster to contribute to championship-level basketball. Nikola Vucevic is an unrestricted free agent in a few months and has demanded a lucrative payday with his incredible play this season. At 32 years old, locking in long-term with him is a significant risk.

Chasing A Top-Four Pick

While tanking would incur significant risk, chasing the playoffs seemingly would involve more risk with less payoff. There are currently six teams with a worse record than the Bulls, and they’re only 1.5 games away from having the fourth worst in the league. Their lottery result must land them in the top four of the 2023 draft to retain their draft pick. Anywhere outside that results in the Orlando Magic retaining the selection via the trade for Nikola Vucevic a few seasons ago.

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Realistically, the Bulls can dip below the Orlando Magic in the standings, only 1.5 games away from finishing beneath them, which would catapult their odds for a top-four pick to 42%. While 42% isn’t anything to celebrate, it is better than the 85% chance they have to miss the playoffs entirely. If they were to finish the season on the current trajectory, they’d end with a draft pick somewhere between 5 and 14, which the Magic own the rights to, and end with empty hands and a lot of hot seats heading into the offseason. Of those include head coach Billy Donovan, front office leader Arturas Karnisovas, and star players Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. KC Johnson expects potentially franchise-altering changes if the season ends without either a playoff berth or a top-four pick in the upcoming draft.

Let The Young Bulls Cook

One of the positives that could come from a ‘tanking’ for Chicago is the increased opportunity for the several young players on the roster. The Bulls currently have five players at or under 23 years old, and none of them have shown whether or not they belong in the NBA, showing flashes of explosiveness but also a lack of consistency at the professional level.

If this team were to commit to pursuing a top draft pick, it would give these players a chance to gain comfortability and confidence ahead of what could be a massacre of the Bulls’ roster. Right now, Chicago has a bundle of unknown young commodities, which prevents growth or trades because of the fear of missing out on something they’re not quite sure the value of.

Dalen Terry: 20 years old

Patrick Williams: 21 years old

Coby White: 23 years old

While plenty of players and coaches have made it clear after last night’s loss that they’re still very hopeful of making the playoffs and that it’s their only intention for the remainder of the season, don’t rule out the tanking possibility if this losing streak gets much worse. The result of the buyout market will be very indicative of their actual decision, but with as many things as have gone wrong this year, it’s not too late to chase a result that could consider this season somewhat of a turning point for the franchise.

So Chicago faithful, what would you do in the Bulls’ tricky position? Tank, or full-steam ahead for the playoffs?


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Lynn Todd
Lynn Todd
Feb 17, 2023 8:47 pm

It took this many games for you to figure out this team is going no where. Sad

Feb 17, 2023 6:20 pm

Buncha egg up in da mind grapes ya know.

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