In this week’s rankings, the Cavaliers make a jump towards the top, the Grizzlies continue to fall and the Celtics remain atop the East even after their winnings streak came to an end.
30. Chicago Bulls
For one quarter against the Warriors last week, the Bulls were better. Granted, Chicago only outscored Golden State by three, and that’s essential not a lead against a team that features Stephen Curry.
And then the rest of the game happened. In the second quarter, the Bulls were outscored 45-21. Then, in the third quarter, the Warriors outscored the Bulls 36-13. By the end of it, Golden State had won 143-93. And remember: this was without Kevin Durant playing.
The Bulls are really, really bad. Zach LaVine’s return won’t change that. Lauri Markkanen can’t change that, at least this year as a rookie. The players that can will be available in June, and the Bulls have to hope that they can continue to have the best odds of landing the No. 1 pick in the draft holds up. Getting a Luka Doncic or Marvin Bagley III to pair with Markkanen is the best and most obvious way to make this all better.
And while the losses happen, at least coach Fred Hoiberg is trying to spin it as a positive.
“I think the biggest thing is we are growing and taking steps in the right direction,” Hoiberg said Friday before the Warriors loss, per the Washington Post. “I think that’s the most important thing when you have a young group of guys. You have to try to keep things positive, especially when you’re going through a tough stretch.”
Calling the Bulls’ struggles a ‘tough stretch’ is the biggest understatement of the year.