Chicago Bulls: Why silence at deadline speaks volumes to the future

(Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
(Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls have two games remaining before All-Star Weekend. Chicago is 19-34, and 3.5 back in the playoff race despite a silent trade deadline.

The first half of the Chicago Bulls season comes to conclusion with road games in Philadelphia and Washington Sunday and Tuesday. Chicago leading up to All-Star Weekend sits at 19-34 and sits 3.5 games out of a playoff spot despite four players being out indefinitely and five more landing on the injury report day-to-day.

Jim Boylen has taken a lot of heat for the disappointing start to the season, but if it wasn’t for Zach LaVine he wouldn’t have a job. LaVine has exploded for seven 30-point games in 2020 already, and 14 on the whole season.

LaVine has started all 53 games for the Bulls this season and he’s having the best season of his career with very little help. LaVine is 12th in the league with 24.9 points,  and set career-highs in points as well as 8.6 made field goals, 2.9 made three-pointers, 19.50 Player Efficiency Rating, and 31.1 percent usage rating. He also added 4.8 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game with 14 30-point games this season.

Chicago as a team can’t score, they rank 26th overall with 106.2 points per game, and tied-16th in pace factor (101.9). They’ve averaged 106.5 since the New Year so injuries surprisingly enough aren’t hindering their scoring average much.

However, their margin of victory is -6.05 points as their defense allows more points than they score on the season (109.0). Boylen has improved their defensive rating has been impressive, ranked 11th (107.8) in the league ahead of Indiana (13th) and Miami (14th). When Chicago wins, they rank fifth in defensive net ratings at 102.2 behind the Bucks, Wolves, Magic, and 76ers.

This week will provide the Bulls’ ownership, coaching staff, and team time to reflect, rest, and gather a plan for a push toward their first playoff-berth since 2016-17 when they finished 41-41. Chicago hasn’t had a winning season since 42-40 in 2015-16, and despite having their best young core of players since then, the Bulls remained silent at the deadline in favor of growing their unit.

The only player that held value was LaVine, but John Paxson and Gar Forman couldn’t let their best player go for a complete rebuild.