Most Chicago Bulls fans think they know what the problem is with the team these days. Fingers point towards Jim Boylen and his incompetent coaching as poison holding this team back. Just look at his baffling late-game management and confrontation with Zach Lavine for evidence. Hence the constant calls for him to get fired. In reality, though, coaching is important but not nearly as much in the NBA as it is other sports. To B.J. Armstrong, what this team needs is something much simpler.
The former All-Star and member of the first three-peat team in the 1990s has been part of the NBA business for a long time. He was an assistant to Jerry Krause in the front office for a few years and then served in the scouting department. After that, he eventually became a notable player agent. So he’s experienced the business of team building from every conceivable angle.
During an interview with Sky Sports, he was asked what is this current Bulls team missing? His answer was hard to argue.
“You need talented players and they are in the group of teams, if you will, that are acquiring as much talent as they can. They have a great young player in Zach Lavine. They have great, young talented players…Markkanen. But talent alone just won’t win. You have to get an exceptional player that’s going to give you an advantage.
I would continue on the path that they’re going through, which is through the draft and try to find a group that will mix. However that player will come. Who knows. Whether it’s through the draft or free agency. Hopefully, you’ll get a player and they’ll develop from within.”
Armstrong doesn’t see Zach Lavine as that exceptional guy
While he clearly likes some of the pieces the Bulls have assembled, Armstrong sees one undeniable reality. They have no superstar. No centerpiece who sets the bar for everybody else on the team. In essence, they don’t have a Derrick Rose or a Michael Jordan. That guy opposing teams fear on both ends of the court. Somebody who can take a game over at the drop of a hat.
Armstrong is Rose’s agent, so he saw what sort of impact that kind of player can have. The Bulls were 33-49 in 2007-2008 and ranked 26th in offense. When Rose arrived as a rookie, they went 41-41 and jumped to 15th in offense. That is the tangible impact of a star. This Bulls team doesn’t have that. Lavine is the best of the bunch but he isn’t a guy who can move the needle.
That player remains to be found.