Chicago Bulls Aren't That Good, But They're Not This Bad

By Brian Neal
Joakim Noah Chicago Bulls
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Well … I’m still a little shocked that the Chicago Bulls actually beat the Milwaukee Bucks tonight. Albeit by one point, 91-90, on a less-than-10-seconds-left three-pointer by Mike Dunleavy, but nevertheless, it was a victory.

And yes, you read that right. Mike Dunleavy made a clutch shot to win the game for the Bulls.

Anyway, this team can barely keep up with Milwaukee. That’s not good. In fact, they lost to this bottom-dwelling Bucks squad three days ago. They also lost to a pathetic New York Knicks team, as well as the New Orleans Pelicans, Detroit PistonsCleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz. Yep, Utah. That’s almost as bad as losing to Milwaukee. Not quite, but almost.

So, other than the obvious guy missing on the court in Derrick Rose, what’s wrong with this team?

I’ll tell you what’s wrong, and it’s not some deep meaning. They’re just not that good. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people still want to talk about their defense and Tom Thibodeau and blah, blah, blah — whatever. None of that matters this year because they’re just not that good of a team; they’re not even as good as last year.

They’ve got zero go-to guys on offense. At least last season Nate Robinson occasionally got hot and actually won a couple playoff games for them. This year, who can they go to?

Never mind the fact that since Rose has gotten hurt three starters have all missed some time. Jimmy Butler was hurt before Rose went down, but he didn’t return to action until tonight. Joakim Noah missed a game, and Luol Deng has now missed a few with a strained Achilles, which isn’t a good sign.

If they were all on the floor other than Rose, however, I think we’d see a better product, obviously. That’s why, even though I don’t they’re that good, at the same time, I don’t think the Bulls are this bad.

Eventually, the Bulls will have all of their main guys on the floor, and if that’s the case, I think they have enough to stay above the seventh seed they currently reside in. I’d say that with as weak as the East is, they should still finish the year with a top five seed in this terrifying excuse for a professional basketball conference.

I mean, a starting lineup of Kirk Hinrich, Butler, Deng, Carlos Boozer and Noah is still a relatively strong one that can compete with many teams in the NBA. And off the bench, they still have guys like Taj Gibson and Mike Dunleavy. Not to mention the newly-signed D.J. Augustin, who will hopefully improve after a rather dreadful first game with the team — he’s at least been much better than that throughout his career and could eventually provide some valuable bench scoring.

The Bulls just need to get healthy, and at least then they’ll be watchable again. They won’t blow anybody out of the water with their still mediocre-at-best offense, but their defense and overall talent as a team will be enough to start winning games with more regularity.

Until then, we’ll just keep praying for miracles like Dunleavy’s clutch three to beat the vaunted Milwaukee Bucks — well, relatively speaking.

Brian Neal is an NFL and NBA contributor for Follow him on Twitter @brianneal23, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google+.

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