Friday, February 14, 2020

Once Again the Bulls Have Disappointed Fans By Not Signing a Weird Guy

It is All Star Weekend in Chicago, the entire NBA has come here to shiver and to network and to watch some profoundly bad basketball exhibitions, and the Chicago Bulls don’t exist. They do not have an All Star. Zach LaVine will participate in the embarrassing also-ran three point competition only because, presumably, they couldn’t get Jud Buechler into the Celebrity Game. It’s a sad state of affairs for another wretched season that began with promises to contend in the putrid East and has come to the break in a familiar catastrophe of injuries, thinly-veiled trade demands, and foam-mouthed Jim Boylen reveries. And with no hope on the horizon, the Bulls made no moves at the trade deadline, furthering a miserable season instead of doing the obvious thing and acquiring a Weird Guy.
The Three Oafs Managin' Company takes over a basketball team, putting 
together a crappy squad and accidentally sending 500 basketballs bouncing 
down a staircase into the path of a caterer carrying a gigantic layer cake who 
then trips over each ball in succession before smashing the cake directly into 
the face of the Dowager who screams "Why I'd Never!" 

No matter what the Bulls have been this decade, they have had one thing in common and that was the players, coaches, and front office relentlessly scheming against each other in dysfunctional melodrama. The Tom Thibodeau era exploded with insane accusations of plotting and skulduggery; at one point, Adrian Wojnarowski ran a piece suggesting that Bulls assistant coaches used desk fans as white noise because they feared that John Paxson had bugged their offices. The Bulls front office also maintained simmering feuds with players that flared up into snitty press exchanges. Mostly they sniped at Derrick Rose, who existed in a Schrodinger situation of being both Back and Not Back simultaneously for years. They feuded with Jimmy Butler, who emerged from nowhere as a surprise superstar and immediately turned into a person who voluntarily spends time with Mark Wahlberg.

The Bulls at this point devolved into less of a basketball team than an opera. They brought in headstrong veterans Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo who formed, with Butler, the “Three Alphas,” all of whom immediately began feuding, in various configurations, like the Princely States of the Habsburg Empire. From the Poison Pen of Rajon Rondo, a Most Invidious Instagram Jeremiad against Wade and Butler. From Bobby Portis, a legitimate Weird Guy whose basketball expertise consists solely in bugging out his eyes at people, an insane and still-mysterious attack on Niko Mirtotic’s entire face. The team supported Portis, suspended him for a token eight weeks, and then forced the two power forwards to play with each other before trading Mirotic to the Pelicans but not before the two of them somehow formed an effective enough frontcourt tandem to wreck the Bulls’ draft position.
Bobby Portis, making the exact face that Weird Al makes in UHF when 
he's making fun of the way that Sylvester Stallone yells

Even in this new era of the Bulls, they managed to keep things interesting by bringing in Jim Boylen, a maniac. Boylen insisted on unnecessarily arduous practices, led the team to its worst home defeat in history, and caused a near player mutiny stopped only by the level head of Robin Lopez, a man who probably sleeps in the world's largest race car bed.  Boylen spent the rest of the season coaching from a Hannibal Lecter restraint. The Bulls extended him for multiple years.

This season, the Bulls are not only bad, but extremely boring. Boylen is doing his best-- he installed a profoundly idiotic punch clock in the team practice facility and has spent much of the season crouching on the sideline with his shimmering head erupting in sweat floes -- but you cannot have a compellingly dysfunctional team where the only Weird Guy is the head coach. The rest of the team seems to be made of up generally pleasant and inoffensive players who do or say nothing interesting. Denzel Valentine, the Bulls’ most compelling  personality whose main quirk is his refusal to come to terms with the sobering reality that he is, in fact, Denzel Valentine, at least had the decency to drop a profoundly wretched rap video recently where he raps while sitting on a couch.

I am extremely sorry for bringing this into your life, althoug the fact that it was "shot by @jay_cutty" is almost too funny to be real

That’s it. I don’t know anything about Zach LaVine other than he is an extremely good basketball player who is flawed in specifically frustrating ways and seems like a very nice person who cares a lot about being good at basketball. The same could be said for all of the rest of these Bulls.  Say what you will about Cam Payne, but he had an almost Buster Keaton-esque genius for playing basketball in a zany, madcap way from the way he shot threes like he was hovering on an invisible surfboard to the many, many times he would inexplicably fall down in one direction while his hair would somehow move in a perfect counterpoint.

In order to save their season, the Bulls desperately needed to make a move to acquire a maniac, a headcase, or a weirdo to poison their clubhouse, do strange social media posts, or futilely taunt a much better player. The Bulls need someone who is good enough to accrue regular playing time while at the same time getting into a series of rich, enjoyable headgames with John Paxson or Gar Forman or at the very least attempting to lead a mutiny against Jim Boylen by stealing his clipboard or somehow tricking him into posing with the types of of wigs that Al Pacino wears in made-for-television movies.

The NBA has soared in popularity as it has embraced players' personalities on and off the court as they talk shit on social media, recruit each other, post the Eyeballs Emoji, and generally create a soap opera that supplements the dunking.  In an age of player movement and intrigue, the 2020 Bulls have none.  They lose games, they do not have any of the precious ASSETS that bloggers are constantly prattling on about, they didn't even do one of those dispiriting, awful trades where they let a semi-competent basketball player go so they could get a future second-round pick with byzantine protections or the rights to an overseas player so obscure that he could be an alias.  They have bland, pleasant players, and even their inept front office League of Oddly-Shaped Heads does not appear to be feuding with, undermining, spying on, sabotaging, attacking in the press, or challenging the manhood of anyone.  

The Bulls have been an embarrassing train wreck for years, but they're not even that anymore.  They just suck.  Their Weird Guy cupboard is bare.

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