Bulls, fans look ahead after disappointing season

Bulls, fans look ahead after disappointing season

By Alan Stevenson, Staff Writer

After a long and grueling NBA season for fans and players alike, the Chicago Bulls season ended Friday night with a loss to the Miami Heat in the play-in tournament. On Wednesday, the team had beaten the Toronto Raptors, 109-105 in the first game of the play-ins.

This has been a very interesting season for the Bulls that have led to this, winning against top-tier teams such as the Milwaukee Bucks and even the Golden State Warriors, and losing against easier teams such as the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Orlando Magic. The Bulls finished the regular season with 40 wins and 42 losses, which barely secured them in the 10th position in the conference.

The way the NBA playoffs work, the top 6 teams in the Eastern and Western conference secure themselves a spot in the playoffs, the 7th and 8th place teams play for the 7th spot, and those teams only need to win one game for that to happen. The 9th and 10th place teams play for the 8th spot, and they would need to win two games. Any team below 10th place is automatically eliminated from the playoffs and signifies the end of the season.

According to the NBA standings, in the Eastern conference, the Milwaukee Bucks are leading the charge with 58 wins and only 24 losses, followed by the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. These teams clinched a playoff spot and wait on the play-in teams to take the last two spots. In the Western conference, the Denver Nuggets are leading with 53 wins and 29 losses, followed by Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors.

While these teams  claimed a playoff spot, the Bulls needed to get their act together  to beat the Raptors and secure a playoff position. Chicago has been very lucky to have claimed a play-in spot above the Dallas Mavericks after the Orlando Magic lost their key game to beat the Bulls in the Eastern conference.

Many Bulls fans have been comparing this season to the 2015-2016 season where the Bulls finished 6th in the conference but unfortunately lost to the Bucks after a brutal play-in round which resulted in the Bulls being knocked out of the playoffs. The Bulls however have seen a slight improvement this season in terms of coaching staff and strategies, which was a real issue two seasons ago when Jim Boylin stepped in as coach after the termination of Fred Hoiberg after a very poor performance of coaching.

Billy Donovan, the Bulls coach, just received a contract extension over the fall to continue coaching in the 2023-2024 NBA season.

The performance of key players such as Nikola Vucevic and Zach Levine will help determine what the Bulls will need to work on for next season no matter the result of the play-in game. Demar Derozan, a former Raptor and current Bulls player, had a good homecoming game scoring 23 points and getting 7 rebounds.  During his time with the Bulls, he has been one of the few players on the team who has played consistently and has been an effective communicator on the floor. There have been a fair share of games earlier this season where he has stunned players and fans alike after scoring a winning basket at the very last minute to put the Bulls on top.

Players and staff will try to regroup and look forward after the disappointing season. And maybe the fans will, too.