With the finalization of the Kyrie Irving - Isaiah Thomas trade this week, it seems the NBA off-season is, finally, mostly over. The off-season, from the NBA Draft until the dog days of August, represents a time for fans to see what direction their organization is going. Some teams, like the Boston Celtics or Cleveland Cavaliers, are going for broke to make a run at the title. Other teams like the Toronto Raptors are hedging their bets, betting on their veterans with short, high-value contracts that they can easily get out of in a couple of years.
Then, there are the Chicago Bulls.
Early odds from Las Vegas predict the Bulls as the NBA’s worst team this year, projected as winning a mere 21 games, about half of what they won last year. It is a frustrating reality among NBA fan bases that, when a window closes, the team needs to be terrible in order to “re-stock the cupboard” with young (and cheaper) players.
And make no mistake about it - the Bulls closed their own window when they traded away a 27-year-old superstar on a great contract in Jimmy Butler with getting little in return. They picked this direction after technically doing everything right. The Derrick Rose-era Bulls are a great “what if” in NBA history since they drafted well over time (Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Rose, Butler, and more), they got their superstar in Rose, developed another in Butler, hired a great coach (Tom Thibodeau), and starting with Rose’ injury and the front office in-fighting with the coaching staff, everything fell apart.
They tried to salvage their situation and keep their window open *just a little longer* by signing Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo to short contracts last year, but they ended up not working out. They tried.
We’re only a month away from the preseason starting for this team going into a lost season. Some light will shine through in terms of giving young players a chance to shine, but the Bulls are going to take a lot of “L’s” this year in the name of putting themselves in position to get more of those draft picks that could turn into role players (Hinrich, Gordon), All-Stars (Deng, Noah) and superstars (Rose, Butler) as they did from 2003-2011.
The Bulls chose to close their window earlier than they needed. Let’s just hope the front office remembers how to open it.
Here are your Links of the Week:
Ever want to hear what your voice sounds like to others? [Lifehacker]
Oh, no big deal. Just 70,000 Android phones in 100 countries have been used to fire off DDoS attacks at the behest of hackers unbeknownst to the owners of the phones. Google has removed 300 apps from the Play Store, but good to look around and see if any of those apps are still on your phone. [The Verge]
Michael Jordan is in the tech game, having invested $20M in the freelance-job hunting app, Gigster. [TechCrunch]
Are meditation apps actually effective? As someone who has recently had a few issues with sleep, I have taken to a few YouTube videos, apps and tools to help with mindfulness and sleep. Good read by Wired. [WIRED]
Gotta love being a morning person! [Fast Company]
Here’s an interesting take on the Game of Thrones quandary. Basically George R. R. Martin (the author) never finished the series and because the show became so popular, the screenwriters went on their own starting with the last season. They only had 15 episodes to finish telling the story so they started cramming a ton of story in a very small window. Suddenly, traveling continent to continent seemingly took seconds, whereas earlier in the show’s run it’d take weeks. “Book people” started getting angry. Here’s a suggestion they’ll get the last laugh. [Uproxx]
Speaking of Game of Thrones, The Ringer put together a comprehensive ranking of every episode, updated after Sunday’s finale. Battle of the Bastards is way too low. [The Ringer]
Royce White was an NBA prospect whose mental health issues essentially took him out of the league. Here’s his story. [LongReads]
Shout-out to HowStuffWorks, the newest show on the Brett Fuller Podcast List™, which just earned $15M in funding for its network of podcasts. [TechCrunch]
NBA2K is my favorite video game by far (It’s the only one I play). Here’s how they come up with the player rating system, which is pretty dang solid. [Bleacher Report]
Here’s Michael Jordan putting up 39 points at the age of 40. Have a Happy Labor Day Weekend.