After an incredibly disappointing 2021-22 season, many fans have already got their pitchforks out and begun their campaign to convince the Chicago Bulls’ front office to blow it all up and begin a rebuild. But if what we’ve seen from the Chicago Bears is of any indication, rushing a rebuild may just end up being the biggest mistake the Bulls could make.
I understand the sentiment here, but before we get too hasty, I think we should turn to the Bulls’ NFL counterpart in Chicago to see just how misguided of a decision this could be. Achieving just one winning season in the past nine years, the Bears have accumulated more than their fair share of top draft picks.
Still, they have repeatedly failed to improve despite stacking up on young talent and cycling through multiple coaching staffs. Chicago’s inability to make the most of their several seasons stuck in mediocrity couldn’t be more obvious last night, as the Bears were trounced 38-20 by their arch-rivals, the Green Bay Packers. The same Packers who just this summer moved on from their franchise cornerstone of nearly two decades.
I wouldn’t blame any of my fellow fans for turning the game off toward the end, but I sure hope the lesson learned here is not lost on the Bulls. Simply trading away all of your best assets in an effort to tank and build around a weak foundation a few years from now is not a winning recipe. That was all too clear out there at Soldier Field on Sunday.
The Bulls should heed the Bears’ half-baked attempt to rebuild their roster.
Even the greatest prospects can’t succeed without a competent supporting cast. What we’ve seen transpire with Justin Fields in the NFL is no different than expecting exciting young talents like Anthony Edwards or LaMelo Ball to carry their team back to relevancy in the NBA. Even LeBron James himself couldn’t do it, as he missed the playoffs in the first two seasons of his career. There just isn’t a prospect out there that’s going to come in and magically fix all of the Bulls’ problems.
Additionally, finding a coaching staff that can lead the next generation is crucially important. You don’t want an inept coach to waste valuable years of development and potentially alienate a future star like we all saw with the Jim Boylen and Lauri Markkanen fiasco. That was a huge mistake that the Bulls will continue to regret for years to come.
I’m higher on Donovan than some, but still not 100% sold he can be the guy that helps a young team overachieve. Before executing a full-blown rebuild, the Bulls must put the right guy for the job at the wheel of the ship. Once the Bulls have a competent team assembled to develop young talent, that’s when we can move forward with the search for a true potential superstar.
I don’t think it’s that controversial of a statement to make, but the Bulls clearly do not have that piece that can be a franchise cornerstone for years to come on the roster right now. Trading win-now assets to increase Chicago’s odds in the draft lottery is a sound idea, but not if it means the rookie will be drafted into an unstable environment with little to no accountability as we’ve recently seen with other tanking teams in Charlotte and Houston.
Cooper Flagg could potentially be that guy, but he won’t be available to draft until the 2025 NBA Draft at the earliest. For those reasons, committing to this core and trying to remain competitive and win games seems like the best route to take — at least until the 2024 trade deadline.