Forum for a Bulls Rant
The Bulls recent run of success has come again weaker competition than they played earlier in the season, and that definitely accounts for some of the improvement. The Bulls remain 0-6 against teams in the top 10 in the league in point differential. Shocking, I know that the team struggles against top opponents. There's a reason these teams are in the top 10 in point differential. But it's not that the Bulls' wins have come against the dregs of the league. While they're 8-1 against teams ranked 21 or lower in point differential, they're also 6-3 against the middle of the league -- teams ranked between 11-20.
The key issue, it appears, is that the Bulls have yet to figure out how to beat great defensive teams. They're 4-3 against teams in the top-10 in the league in scoring, and 3-4 against teams in the top-10 in effective field goal percentage. But they're 1-6 against teams in the top-10 in points allowed, and 1-6 against teams in the top-10 in effective field goal percentage against. Perhaps a team needs a true go to scorer to overcome great team defense. The Bulls rely more on ball and player movement. That creates easy shots when teams suffer defensive breakdowns, but if a team doesn't breakdown defensively, you need someone who can create his own shot.
So, the Bulls may not be ready to compete with the elite teams in basketball, especially those who really clamp down on defense. But they're better than the mediocrity that inhabits the vast wasteland of the NBA. Thus, they struggled when they travelled to Texas and out west, but excelled when they hosted Eastern Conference foes. Are they playing better basketball now? Sure, and that quality of play would have helped avoid a winless western swing. But the truth is that the Bulls could go to Texas right now, and they'd still be lucky to win a game.
And, I think the national media still largely reflects that reality. Bill Simmons has yet to acknowledge that he undersold the Bulls, though he was crowing earlier this year about how right he was when the team was struggling on the road. But the rest of TWWL seems to have the Bulls in proper perspective. They were the second highest rated team from the East in their last power rankings. So, HMS, is it worth a rant? I'm not sure it is. Now, if you want to rant on why Luol Deng deserves more national attention, respect, and an all-star invitation (best player on one of the East's few winning team, 35th best PER in the league, 7th best among all small forwards), then that's a different story.