Nikola Mirotic

With a heavy heart (and a secret sigh of relief) the Bulls 2015-2016 season is officially over after Chicago beat the 76ers at home on Wednesday. I guess it’s better to end on a win, but the Bulls failure to find a lack of urgency was painful to watch this season and it was all too little too late.

Yes you read that right. The Chicago Bulls failed to make the NBA Playoffs for the first time since drafting Derrick Rose. Also, I’d like to note that the Bulls are in the Eastern Conference, which is by far the weaker of the two and they STILL couldn’t seem to drum up enough wins to snag that 8th seed in the playoffs. If I seem bitter, I am. The Bulls 42-40 record on the season hurt my feelings as a fan. I can’t pin-point just one problem that lead to the Bulls’ demise, it was more like a slew of issues that ended up just blowing the season out of proportion.

We’ll start with the injuries that always seem to hamper the Bulls and ruin my dreams of strutting around town in Chicago Bulls NBA championship swag from this decade. First, Joakim Noah went down in January with a season ending shoulder injury. Then Nikola Mirotic had to have an emergency surgery to remove his appendix which kept him off the floor for some weeks. In early February, star Jimmy Butler sustained a knee injury that kept him out of the game for about a month and some seriously crucial games. Not to mention Mike Dunleavy did not return from off-season back surgery until February. For the majority of the season, the Bulls were kind of a band of misfits and rarely had their starting lineup in tact.

Problem number two, coaching. Fred Hoiberg assumed the role of Head Coach in the wake of Tom Thibodeau’s dismissal in 2015. Here’s the thing, I definitely loved me some Thibs basketball. He wasn’t perfect, but he empowered his players to play passionately and effectively. He was a defensive stone-wall and this year was proof that defense matters a whole hell of a lot more than people like to admit. I hate to say it, but Hoiberg came off as a soft pretty-boy this first season behind the reins. Coming into the season Hoiberg was praised for his work at Iowa State and his offensive focus. Well my handsome friend, that sissy stuff may have worked in the farm fields, but it sure didn’t work in the big leagues. Hoiberg’s lack of command seemed most obvious from veteran players who had played under more, we’ll say ‘aggressive’ coaches. Jimmy Butler first stirred the waters when he spoke out after a tough loss that Hoiberg needed to be tougher on the guys. Umm, I agree. Most recently, Pau Gasol spoke out about how difficult this season has been for him. Players took games for granted, lacked a sense of urgency and maturity. Oh, you mean like your head coach playing a dumb and dumber clip when your season is on the line?

Despite the criticism, from haters like myself, Hoiberg has argued that he has a stronger relationship with his players than it seems through the medias eyes. Prove it buddy.

Problem number three, we have Jimmy Butler in his prime and Derrick Rose still tough, but a little washed up, trying to play on the same team. The two “super-stars” never gelled. Which SUCKS because we’ve seen what happens when you get two super-stars to gel, just google some old highlights of MJ and Scottie Pippen.

So what happens when you don’t make the playoffs? The rumor mill begins a churnin’. Some people think the Bulls should blow up the roster and start with fresh young talent. Others question if the team should keep both Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler. Some people are lobbying to axe Hoiberg and the whole front office. We’ve got a lot of emotional fans on our hands here.

Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol have been the free agent talks of the town this year. After Pau Gasol openly expressed his frustrations with the season, we’re all guessing the dude will opt out of his contract, but now focuses have been shifting to Noah. This season proves more than ever that Noah was the leader of this Bulls team and the player who could look at Butler and Rose and tell them to step it up. Now stories have surfaced that the front office may be looking to sign Noah to a short term deal. The question is, would Noah even want to take it after Hoiberg falsely said Jo-No volunteered to come off the bench earlier this season? The front office also believes Gasol is part of the “core” of the team So who stays and who goes?

My most favorite rumor of late is the Jimmy Butler trade. Butler’s quick rise to stardom and hefty pay raise has led to a bit of an ego issue and preferential treatment. Lets just say Jimmy’s rubbed some teammates the wrong way and some have gone to infer that his attitude is toxic to the locker room.  With his level of play this season, it was clear that Butler was the star of the roster, but leadership is earned and not determined by who gets paid the most (Rose has proven that to us). Jimmy has shown his work ethic is top notch, but he may not yet be mature enough to lead or motivate veteran players. Now, he’s put himself in a predicament as the best player on an extremely dysfunctional team with a very high trade value as one of the most sought after two-way players in the league. If these issues are true, we can’t be surprised if Butler is wheeled and dealed this off season.

When your team doesn’t make the playoffs there are always serious repercussions, especially if you’re the so-called leader of that train wreck of the a team. Put your seat belts on Bulls fans, I’m predicting a wild ride for this off season.

Until next time my friends 🙂

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I’m so thankful for the All-Star break because I currently sound like a broken record. I hate to say this, drugstore but the Chicago Bulls are bad. They’re not the perfect storm combination of offense and defense we had all hoped for at the beginning of the season. Instead, in their last 18 games, the Bulls are 5-13. The season has gone from inconsistent Bulls still sprinkled with hope, to literally holding on to the last playoff slot for dear life – in the Eastern Conference no less.

Things are getting relatively hostile on the fan-front. The majority of Bulls fans have completely given up on the season. There are plenty of reasons for the Bulls disastrous season, the laundry list of injuries hindering the team the is most crucial. Should we take a quick minute to layout everything that’s happened?

Jimmy Butler who had been single handily powering the Bulls defense/offense is out with a knee strain, second-year forward Nikola Mirotic is recovering from an appendectomy, Derrick Rose has sat due to “general soreness” and don’t forget about Joakim Noah’s season-ending shoulder injury that has left a gaping hole in the soul of Bulls basketball. So now we have a team that’s left with Taj Gibson and Pau Gasol to speak on behalf of the Bulls.

Gibson chatted with the press after Wednesday night’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks and honestly it was depressing. He said the Bulls had lost their spirit – so basically it’s like the team is dead inside and honestly that’s how they played so it makes sense. He also may have inadvertently trash talked new head coach Hoiberg again,

“We had straight defensive guys, hungry dogs. Now we have guys coming in, offensive-minded, shoot the 3. … We used to be scrappy. Now we’re trying to mold these guys into getting scrappy. … Right now a lot of teams smell blood; you just got to figure out a way to get over it. In this league, nobody’s going to feel sorry for you.”

Hey coach, why don’t we tell the guys to quit loving the three so damn much and make some easy layups? And then after some points are scored, the players run down the court and play actual defense. Two sides to this magical game of basketball.

All that’s left to wonder is whether the Bulls front office is going to make some real moves before the February 18 trade deadline. I would advise you not to get your hopes up, but there has to be a light at the end of this dark 2015-2016 Bulls season tunnel.

Ideally, the Bulls are coming up with some new strategies, heavily incorporating defense into their game-plan as the next opponent on the schedule are the Cleveland Cavaliers and Lebron would love nothing more than to slaughter his Eastern Conference foes and continue the Bulls mockery. Come on guys, we have got to get it together. Otherwise, let’s start PJ Rose.

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Joakim Noah

My heart aches for Joakim Noah and his ailing knees. In less than two years Jo-No has gone from a MVP candidate and Defensive Player of the Year to knee surgery ruining his 2014-2015 season and coming off the bench for a second year player (Nikola Mirotic).  Talk about a tough turn of events. Now it seems those pesky knee issues have resurfaced and they could be a bigger problem than we think.

Joakim Noah is the heart and soul of the Bulls, viagra his energy alone can propel a team, viagra but do Jo-No fans need to brace themselves for the probable reality of Jo leaving Chicago?

Here’s the low down. He had actually been slated to start Monday night’s game against the 76ers, but decided to sit out due to knee soreness. Now normally, if a player has a little soreness we wouldn’t lose sleep over it, but this is a very telling season for Noah and his knees are the second worst next to Derrick Rose’s two completely reconstructed knees.

“You don’t plan on these things. I wasn’t expecting it. I’ve been feeling great up to this point, and it just happened. I don’t think it’s [anything] too serious, but it was definitely a situation where I had to be smart. I wanted to play tonight really bad.”

Another extremely important tidbit, Noah’s contract is up at the end of this season, he’s currently making $13.4 million and that seems a bit steep a price for a guy to come off the bench. Noah needed to regain his stature and prove to new Head Coach Fred Hoiberg he deserves his starting roll and his money. Otherwise, Noah could potentially be shopped around come the trade deadline in February because the reality would be the Bulls could lose Noah all-together during Free Agency this summer.

To top things off, the Bulls have TOO many big men. Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah and that list doesn’t even include rookie Bobby Portis. Basically it’s too many cooks in the Center/Power Forward position kitchen and not enough shooting guards. The Bulls need to unload one of them.

Noah hasn’t had the comeback season he had been hoping for, but it’s still early. Maybe coming off the bench wasn’t his thing, but his most memorable moment was elbowing a Hornets player. What happened to all those triple-doubles of seasons past? If his knees can get it together, Noah has  plenty of time to step up his game. Unfortunately, if Noah’s knees don’t cooperate, we could have a goodbye in our future.

It devistates me to think about Jo-No and all his messy-bun-swagger wearing a different jersey, but I think it’s safe to say Noah fans should prepare ourselves for potential NBA heartbreak.

 

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Noah and Butler

Alright, cialis alright, sovaldi sale alright! Who’s ready for some legitimate Bulls basketball? (raises hand eagerly) Preseason is fine and dandy, but it’s like going to get Froyo and just having some taste-test samples – you love some, you like some, but ultimately you want to put your favorites all in one tub and experience the magic! So maybe I enjoy Froyo too much, but I am also ready for the Chicago Bulls to run the floor of the United Center on Tuesday kicking off the new season. Who better to challenge our favorite men in red but the defending Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers? Let the rivalry continue!

Remind me, why do we care about the Cavs?

Here’s the skinny, Cleveland currently is and has been the favorites of the Eastern Conference – which is the Bulls conference. First and foremost, they have Lebron James the four-time NBA MVP. He’s a freak of nature when it comes to basketball and my favorite player to hate because he’s always on the opposing team. The Cavs as a whole have crazy depth (we’re talking Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson) and can suffocate their opponents on offensive AND defense. Question is, will the Bulls new offensive-minded approach be enough to overpower the Cavs? Well, we’ll just have to find out.

Keep Your Eyes On: Lebron James and Jimmy Butler

Despite the few Derrick Rose hopeless romantics left in Chicago, we all know this Bulls team is going to be led by Jimmy Butler. He signed his big boy contract this offseason and now we need the man to perform. Butler always plays Lebron James tough since his professional game was developed under Thibodeau who preached defense. Lebron James, is rumored to not be practicing after a back injection, but he claims he is healthy and ready to go. Lebron James with the flu is still tougher to play than most guys in the league so Butler has his work cut out for him – per usual.

Big Bench Mob: 

Joakim Noah has been demoted to come off the bench according to Coach Hoiberg and Nikola Mirotic will be starting in his place. JoNo’s never been the team’s most prominent offensive player, but after a career low season in 2014-2015 and a new offensive minded coach, Noah needs to add something else to the mix. Apparently, that something else is going to be coming off the bench, but I mean Taj Gibson AND Noah off the bench is rather intimidating to other team’s reserves. I kind of love the depth.

Masked Man:

This is definitely day-to-day, but as of right now Derrick Rose is slated to play in the home opener at the United Center on the 27th. Before the orbital fracture during practice (aka breaking his face) I was so optimistic about Rose this season, getting a healthy chance. Now he’s rocking a mask that looks incredibly uncomfortable and I would imagine it’s so hot and sweaty under there. Regardless, we’re not going to get top notch DRose for the home opener, but we may at least hear his name called during introductions. Also, totally unrelated to actually playing basketball, please enjoy the irony of Rose’s Addias 6 slogan “Never Break” – it’s too much for my heart to handle.

Two years in a row our Bulls have kicked off their home opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers. You know those NBA schedulers are adding fire to the already existing rivalry on purpose. Tip-off is at 7PM on the 27th, be at the UC or tune in! Time to #SeeRed Bulls babes.

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Noah and Butler

Get ready to rumble Bulls babes. We have exactly TWO weeks until the Bulls tip-off their regular season against the Cleveland Cavaliers on the 27th. This gives us ample time to learn who’s-who on this year’s roster.

And now, search the starting lineup for your Chicago Bulls – actually it’s all your need-to-know players.

Derrick Rose #1
Position: Point Guard
College: Memphis
@drose

DRose is sporting a new hairdo to start his sixth season with the Bulls. Despite literally breaking his face during the first practice, buy cialis our Bionic man should be ready to go for the home-opener. Rose has only played 61 games in the last two seasons after a laundry list of injuries. We need DRose to just PLAY. I’m a hopeless Bulls fan that will always wish Rose can get back to MVP form, but it’s highly unlikely after two serious knee surgeries and rehabs. Regardless, he’s still DRose and as long as he is on the court and movin and groovin the Bulls are a better team. Please stay healthy for us Rose.

Jimmy Butler #21
Position: Small Forward
College: Marquette
@JimmyButler

All eyes are on Jimmy Buckets in 2015 after his big pay-day this off-season. Butler gave the Bulls a renewed sense of talent after his breakout season in 2014-2015. Now it’s all about Jimmy. We’re expecting some big offensive stats, another All-Star appearance, and a Butler-Rose duo that is unstoppable in the Eastern Conference. Are we asking too much? Call me greedy, but I want Butler to shine his brightest this season – right past Lebron and the Cavs and straight to the NBA Finals.

Joakim Noah #13
Position: Center
College: Florida
@JoakimNoah

After injury prevented Noah from being his influential self last season, Jo-No will be looking to get back to his Defensive Player of the Year stature and man have we missed it. Jo is the player opponents love to hate, but we love to have on our side. He’s six feet and 11 inches of a passionate basketball player rebounding all over the other team’s face. Yup, show us the good stuff Jo.

Pau Gasol #16
Position: Center/Power Forward
Prior to NBA:  FC Barcelona
@paugasol

Pow Pow! This seasoned NBA vet was picked up from the Lakers in 2014 and is a huge impact player whenever he hits the court. When it came down to it Gasol was stuck on the bench with an injury in the big games against the Cavaliers last year during the playoffs. He’s got 14 years of the NBA under his belt, but with age comes a longer bounce-back from annoying injuries like hamstrings or ankle sprains. We need Pau to stay healthy for the big moments. Perhaps these boys need to incorporate more hot Yoga into their workout regimes?

Taj Gibson
Position: Power Forward
College: USC 
@TajGibson22

Gibson’s game has jumped to a whole other level since his start with the Bulls, but unfortunately to Taj lovers he’s the main focus of potential trade rumors. The Bulls almost have too many big men and Gibson has the most trading value since he brings so much value to a new team. Keep your eyes peeled on Gibson, hopefully we get some big dunks off the bench before any more trading talk occurs.

Doug McDermott #3
Position: Small Forward
College: Creighton 
@dougmcd3

Under new head coach Fred Hoiberg, fans are looking to Dougie Mc-Buckets to have a breakout season. Coach Thibodeau wasn’t big on giving rookies too many playing minutes, but McDermott is now in his sophomore season and loves a nice shot from the perimeter which Coach Hoiberg fully supports.

Nikola Mirotic #44
Position: Power Forward
Prior to NBA: Montenegro 
@threekola

Mirotic, aka Three-ko-la (you have to say it like the Riccola commercials), is ready to embark on his second season in the NBA. There was definitely a bit of a learning curve coming from Montenegro to the NBA, but his serious three-point shot was an instant fan favorite. After a year, Mirotic has refined his game. You’ll be sure to find this guy outside the arc sinking three’s in Hoiberg’s new offense.

Bobby Portis #5
Position: Power Forward
College: Arkansas
@BPortistime

Rookie alert! The Bulls drafted Portis 21st in the 2015 NBA draft and could absolutely be a secret weapon off the bench this season. Portis had a break-out performance against the Pelicans in the preseason with 20 points and 11 rebounds in 31 minutes. Ideally, Portis can help provide the Bulls with additional offense it never seems to generate enough of.

Kirk Hinrich #12
Position: Point Guard
College: Kansas

Captain Kirk is too cool for Twitter apparently, but luckily he’s a Bulls veteran ready to backup Rose for another season. Hinrich offers the Bulls stifling defense, but he’s no spring chicken so hopefully he can actually play the roll of back-up point guard because Rose will be healthy enough to start the majority of games this season (fingers crossed people).

Aaron Brooks #0
Position: Point Guard
College: Oregon
@thirty2zero

Brooks offers the Bulls a burst of energy and speed off the bench. He takes some wild and crazy shots, but when he’s not getting stuffed by Power Forwards or Centers, Brooks can put up some useful offensive numbers. He’s a great back-up Point Guard when Rose and Hinrich need to rest.

Mike Dunleavy Jr. #34
Position: Guard/Small Forward
College: Duke
@MikeDunleavyjr

With 13 years in the league, Dunleavy is absolutely a seasoned vet. Unfortunately, a post season back surgery is going to keep this sharp shooter off the court for a while until he’s ready to rumble.

Tony Snell #20
Position: Small Forward
College: New Mexico
@TonySnell20

Year two is a definite sink or swim kind of season for Snell. We saw glimpses of star power last season, but we need some more consistent offense off the bench from Snell. He also has a much improved hairstyle which I truly appreciate.

Cameron Bairstow #41
Position: Center
College: New Mexico
@CBairstow41

This Aussie is relief for big man Joakim Noah. He’s tall, he’s strong, but he’s looking to gain some more minutes and overall experience under Coach Hoiberg.

E’Twaun Moore #55
Position: Point Guard
College: Purdue
@ETwaun55

Moore is the back-up’s, back-up’s back-up – if that makes any sense. He comes in to run the court when Rose, Hinrich and Brooks are all gassed or injured. We probably won’t see him outside of his sweet Bulls warm-up, but he is a capable back-up when needed.

Cristiano Da Silva Felicio #6
Position: Power Forward/Center
Prior to NBA: Brazil

The Bulls added Brazilian big man Cristiano during the past summer.  His signing was speculated as a pre-curser to a potential Taj Gibson trade sometime this season. The Bulls are pretty stacked when it comes to height and power and rather need some depth in the guard area. Nonetheless, we’ll keep our eye on Felicio and see what he can deliver off the bench.

Per usual, the Bulls are under serious pressure to prove they’re title worthy and many of the players are vying to prove they’re worth the money the Bulls spent on them. Hopefully we see the best of both this season 🙂

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It’s been a long time since I last spoke to you.  So much has happened in Chicago sports.  Here’s a look at the busy and unpredictable Chicago sports landscape.

Blackhawks keep winning

Blackhawks keep winning

Blackhawks:  They just keep doing what they do best, see win.  They lost their goalie Corey Crawford after an accident at a concert, but didn’t skip a beat.  Patrick Sharp returned to the ice and their winning ways have continued.  Right now, this organization is a blue print for the other teams in the city.

Derrick Rose makes a statement

Derrick Rose makes a statement

Bulls:  So much was written about the man the team needs in order to win a championship-Derrick Rose.  As long as he is healthy for the playoff run I don’t care if he sits every other game.  He is back, but not completely healed so he takes what the defense gives him.  It seems others are following his lead of letting their bodies heal to be ready for the games that matter.  DRose also made headlines when he showed support for the Garner family by wearing the I Can’t Breathe shirt.  Some local sports media questioned his intelligence and motives.  He knows what he’s doing and the implications; please stop insulting the young man’s intelligence.  Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler are the team’s MVP and Niko Mirotic has been as good as advertised.  Biggest problem besides health is the defense; they’re giving up more points so far this year.

The newest member of the Sox.

The newest member of the Sox.

White Sox:  The south siders are making moves this off season.  They have signed reliever Zach Duke, closer David Robertson and first baseman/DH Adam LaRoche.  They completed a six player trade with the Oakland Athletics getting starter Jeff Samardzija.  Pitching coach Don Cooper was downright giddy after learning about the move.  So they have strengthened their bullpen, starting rotation and hitting; now the question is will they catch the ball or will they throw away games this season.

The first step in competing in 2015

The first step in competing in 2015

Cubs:  Theo and company made a huge splash getting the best free agent pitcher Jon Lester for 6 years for $155 million, $30 million signing bonus and no trade clause.  There are many who think now that the team signed Lester they will speed up their clock to compete and look to acquire a big bat.  They signed pitcher Jason Hammel and acquired catcher Miguel Montero, with that move some expect Wellington Castillo to be traded.  Theo said they aren’t looking to trade him and apparently he told other teams that shortstop Starlin Castro is not available.  Cubs need offense so keeping Starlin makes sense.

Bears leaders searching for answers

Bears leaders searching for answers

Bears:  I saved the worst for last.  The coaches and players are bad, the front office is bad and the field is bad.  It’s just an all-around bad team.  Mel Tucker may be the fall guy, but I don’t think fans will think that is enough.  After this year many faces will be gone, and I’m not sure any of the young players are any good.  Thankfully the misery of this season ends in 3 weeks.

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