Well, the Bulls finally ended their longest losing streak of the season with a 115-109 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night. They now sit just 1/2 game back of the Milwaukee Bucks for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 15 games left to play. But the suddenly-relevant Miami Heat hold an identical 32-35 record and Chicago faces playoff-bound opponents in their next four games. Can Fred Hoiberg and his ragtag group of misfits muster enough energy and execution down the stretch to squeeze into the playoffs? A better question might be: should they even try?
Before this ugly 5-game losing streak, which showcased Hoiberg’s inconsistent coaching decisions and the lack of talent among the roster’s young “core”, the Bulls looked like a lock to return to the postseason after a rare miss last year. But blowout losses to Houston and Boston, plus an embarrassing failure against pathetic Orlando, have this aimless bunch on the outside looking in. How did we get here?
Perhaps taking orders from his bosses, Hoiberg spent that losing streak constantly tinkering with his rotation. He used twelve different players in several of their recent games, probably trying to follow Gar Forman and John Paxson’s plan. You know, the one Gar restated over and over on his post-trade deadline explanation tour? Paraphrasing, it goes something like this: “We want to spend some time developing and evaluating the younger talent on this roster, while also remaining competitive and hopefully making the playoffs.”
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