There are two ways to look at the Chicago Bulls’ 92-87 win over the Phoenix Suns. You can look at it as a failure, since trading Luol Deng the night before ostensibly ushered in a new era of tanking, or you can look at it as the reality of Tom Thibodeau. We all knew that Thibs wasn’t on board with any potential tank efforts, and that any tanking would thus have to be done via removing enough talent that even he couldn’t coax wins out of the remaining players.
Well, um, about that.
The Bulls currently are down to 12 players on their roster after waiving Andrew Bynum. Derrick Rose is out for the year, of course, Marquis Teague is in the D-League, and Carlos Boozer was out last night. That left 9 players — really 8, since one of them is Erik Murphy — to take on a Phoenix Suns team that has been much better than expected. Granted, they were without Eric Bledsoe, but they’ve got some legit players.
You can be upset that the Bulls won. That’s certainly your right. But this is the new normal. Which, conveniently, is the same as the old normal. Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah and company are not going to roll over and die. Once Boozer is back, the Bulls are still one of the better teams in the East.
That, of course, says more about the East than it does about the Bulls, but that’s not the point.
Maybe more trades are coming. Kirk Hinrich is rumored to be a target of the Golden State Warriors, for instance. Mike Dunleavy could be very useful to a contender. We’ll see. But for now, this is what this team is. So you might as well get used to it.
Or don’t. It’s not like Thibs cares either way.