The Runner Sports

Chicago Bulls 2016-2017 Season Recap

The 2017 NBA Finals begin Thursday and the Chicago Bulls are noticeably absent from the running of the Larry O’Brien Trophy yet again.

With the Chicago Bulls now gone from the playoffs and into the off-season, let us reflect a little on what transpired over the course of the season. When the season first started, there were high hopes and expectation placed upon this newly constructed Bulls team. They didn’t make the playoffs the year prior, so definite changes needed to be made, and the Bulls surely caught the eyes of every basketball fan with their moves. They signed Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, traded Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah for Robin Lopez and Jerian Grant, and from that point forward, you would not see another dull moment from this team.

At the start of the season, the Bulls looked like they were truly going to improve their bad habits from the year before. You had Wade scoring, Rondo hitting 3s, and Jimmy Butler making winning plays and holding the mantle of team’s best player high and proud. As the season progressed, however, the true nature of the team started to reveal itself. Fred Hoiberg started to try different combinations of lineups, noticing that the spacing and tempo wasn’t to his liking. As this time period of fluctuation continued, it becoming apparent that the coach had no idea what he wanted, the players didn’t have fun playing the game, and players didn’t know when or if they were going to play any given night because of Hoiberg’s random tendencies.

Then, of course, the story that explained the Bulls’ situation completely came to light when Butler and Wade voiced their frustration to the media. They questioned their teammates’ heart and motivation for winning and these comments were directed at the younger players. Then Rondo came out with an Instagram post defending the young guys, explaining that the leadership of the organization as a whole should be what’s really in question.
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So after the interesting back and forth within the team, things started to look up a little for Chicago. The younger players started to improve their play and the Bulls, though they didn’t win games that they probably should have, started to show signs of life. The Bulls found themselves still in the playoff picture despite all of the team’s confusion and flaws as a team. Things started to get tense and feel a bit hopeless around the All-Star break, however. The trade deadline had come and passed and it saw the Bulls trade away a Chicago favorite in Taj Gibson, and the young scorer Doug McDermott. The city of Chicago was again baffled by Bulls management, and during this time of confusion, struggling teams such as the Pacers and Heat starting to get hot at the right time to end the season while the Bulls started to slip. To add to the misery, Dwyane Wade sustained an injury and many didn’t know what to expect.

The Bulls were out of the playoff spot after a while and all hope felt completely lost, until Hoiberg stumbled upon a lineup that actually produced more than most lineups he put out all season. Rondo ended up getting his starting spot back after being benched, he inserted Paul Zipser and Nikola Mirotic into the starting lineup, and Jimmy Butler had space and shooters to operate to the best of his abilities.

The Chicago Bulls ended up making the playoffs with a 41-41 record, but more importantly, it looked like the Bulls started to finally play the best version of Hoiberg’s style and they certainly produced. The Bulls were the worst three-point shooting team in the league all season, but the during the last 10 or so games, they starting hitting 10 or more 3s in the majority of those games and started to play like a completely different team. Even in their first round matchup, the Bulls were playing the best basketball they have in two seasons and it couldn’t have happened at a better time than the playoffs. The team as a whole looked at Boston and truly felt they could be beat them in a series. Rajon Rondo showed his true value and leadership during the two games he played before getting injured. Ultimately, they fell to the Celtics in six games.

The Bulls now face another off-season filled with more questions than answers. This time, however, due to the success they found with the roster in the latter parts of the season, they are going to most likely add around what they have already. They figured out how they want to play when it counted most, so expect to see a Bulls team with less confusion and more direction going into next season, and let’s hope Fred Hoiberg and the Bulls organization can get the city back to producing good basketball again.

Derrick Hicks

Hello, my name is Derrick Hicks from Chicago, and I just speak/write my mind on these crazy Bulls adventures.Please Enjoy!

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