The Chicago Bulls have put together their best promising season in over half a decade.
The 46-36 record was the franchise’s best since the 2014-15 season, and its first-round game with the Milwaukee Bucks was their first since the “Three Alphas” faced off against the Boston Celtics in 2016-2017. DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine immediately looked like one of the league’s most dynamic scorers, while Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso installed a superb defense when in good health.
Add in the rebounding campaign from Nikola Vucevic and the continued development of Patrick Williams, and there’s reason to believe the Bulls can take another step forward this season. But will this move be big enough to really compete in the Eastern Conference? Scottie Pippen doubts that.
The Bulls legend – who partnered with Dick’s Sporting Goods earlier this week to donate sports equipment in Chicago – spoke with Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago on Bull’s Talk Podcast. During that conversation, Pepin presented his thoughts on the overhaul of the organization’s roster. Despite the team being praised for their usual success last season, he still believes the franchise is stuck in a similar place when it comes to playoff potential.
“I thought last season they definitely did some acquisitions that made them better. They definitely looked a lot better throughout the regular season,” Pippen said. “I think DeRozan brought them some of the firepower they needed from an offensive standpoint. But I think they’re kind of back in the slot they’ve been in for the past 10 to 15 years. They are not just a team designed for post-season.
The other teams out there continue to improve. Milwaukee is still going strong. Miami. So even the improvement they’re doing is a drastic improvement, other teams are making moves as well. So they really don’t give them a chance to bridge the gap.”
Right as I started building my sophomore optimism out of this essence, one of the greatest Bulls jersey wearers ever showered me with ice water! Thanks beeb!
What’s also more annoying is that – while Pippen has made his share of weird comments in recent years – this seems like a perfectly justified position to take.
In fact, Pepin basically echoed my main concerns about the path the bulls chose. There is no doubt that the team is much better, but to what end? Do they have what it takes to take control of the East, especially after an unexpected period in which they made minimal improvements? Building a competitor is a process, and I am willing to see that process through. But the lack of current assets and a real star can hamper the speed of this process, especially when the best player in the league is in your conference.
“When I look at the game now, the Milwaukee Bucks are going to dominate in the East,” Pippen said. “Until you find an answer for Giannis, I think the Bulls will be a halfway team because he’s the most dominant player in the game right now. Unfortunately for them, he’s playing in the East. It’s the target they have to get around.”
Again, as much as I love Pippen being just a bull-horror leader…man makes some fair points!
There is no doubt that everything in the East will pass through Giannis Antetokounmpo over the next few years. The conference is also the most competitive in some time, paving a more difficult path for the bulls to rise in the ranks.
With that, I think Pepin could have more faith. The road may have its obstacles, but I would prefer the organization to be in a position to take multiple bites of the apple. Establishing yourself as a comma team means that you are more interesting to famous stars and top free agents. Not to mention it puts you in a better position to take advantage of the other team’s flaws. So, come on, babe, hop back on the wagon! you’re always welcome!