2016 Chicago Bulls Media Day Analysis

Sep 26, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) guard Rajon Rondo (9) and guard Dwayne Wade (3) pose for a photo during Bulls media day at The Advocate Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) guard Rajon Rondo (9) and guard Dwayne Wade (3) pose for a photo during Bulls media day at The Advocate Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

And just like that, the canned responses and non-answers were flying, heralding the beginning of the 2016-17 NBA season and the Chicago Bulls Media Day.

Really, if you used the Tyler Pleiss Media Day Bingo Card, you were pretty much covered:

If you were lucky enough to catch the livestream of the Bulls press conference, you might have seen quite a few familiar faces a couple of new guys. Gar Forman and John Paxson fielded a few questions to kick things off, earlier than announced in true Forman fashion.

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There was nothing revelatory from GarPax, though there is something particularly fascinating about watching a general boasting of victories in battles yet to be fought that felt like they fell flat.

The biggest takeaway of this Bulls media experience was that this team appears to be keenly aware of their deficiencies and only barely able to even attempt to explain them away.

After GarPax, Hoiberg was up next. He spoke on how he needed to improve and his focus was on consistency. He also referenced many of the team’s young players as having opportunities – Doug McDermott, Bobby Portis – and being able to rely on young players for their outside shooting – Isaiah Canaan, Tony Snell. Hoiberg was also keen on statistics. We’re far from the only ones to note that Hoiberg cited the Bulls defensive numbers before January 1, and after. What might have been lost in what Hoiberg said about defense was when he addressed areas where they can improve: rebounding, transition, and several other areas. Essentially, he said what we all know – the Bulls are a poor defensive team.

Speaking of poor defense, Jimmy Butler was up next and he took the opportunity to praise the defense of Denzel Valentine. That is exactly the kind of behavior you would expect from a team that just doesn’t have answers for a lot of the problems they will face in 2016-17. Butler highlights included his favorite Olympics moment, he said, “I brought my football everywhere.” He also said that he “embarrassed” DeMarcus Cousins who couldn’t cover the routes that Jimmy would run. “I think that hard work can get you anywhere you want to get to,” concluded Butler. There’s your moment of inspiration.

After Butler, it was time for the newcomers. Dwyane Wade was up first. A polished speaker with the media, Wade had all of the right answers and kept the focus where he wanted it to be. When asked about the time that he first envisioned himself playing for the Bulls, Wade said, “1991.” He explained that it was after Michael Jordan and Chicago won the 1991 Finals that he first thought seriously about basketball and the Bulls. The best bits from Wade had nothing to do with on-court expectations. He spoke about his support of athletes using their voices on important issues, particularly in response to a question on Colin Kaepernick. He also focused part of his time behind the mic to address Chicago as a city and role he hopes to play in that arena. “We have a different kind of battle here,” said Wade.

The addition of Wade probably won’t do a whole lot for the Bulls on the court, but he was particularly outstanding during his media session. With Rose and Noah deposed, the city needs a new figure to stand up. Wade appears to be the man for the job.

The last media availability at the press conference was for Rajon Rondo. Rondo had a very short media time, but he mentioned that the primary difference in him between his days in Boston, Sacramento and now is that he is older. He said that he spoke with Hoiberg leading up to the contract agreement, found Fred to be “really intelligent.” He stated that he is willing to be patient with his teammates given that he and a majority of the team are new this season and will time to adapt to Hoiberg’s offense. He said that he is willing to help, but also let it be known that it should not take all season for everyone to get on the same page.

Next: Bulls Player Outlook: Jerian Grant

The Chicago Bulls of 2016-17 have arrived. Everyone is saying the right things, though it is clear that there are problems that no one has answers for at this point in time. Butler is still talking about football, Hoiberg mentioned Snell multiple times, Wade is addressing the community of Chicago and Rondo smiled. Let’s get this started.