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Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years

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Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#1 » by MalagaBulls » Tue Jun 8, 2021 8:10 am

Eventhough it is Cowley (I know, I know) he does have some valid talking points that are pretty simple to digest. He looks at the basic roster construction of the Knicks, Heat, Celtics, & Hawks and concludes even cracking this group will be extremely difficult. I have to say after reading some comments (Duck & Doug come to mind and probably others) this is likely a feast or famine (Do or Die) scenario next season for AK.
Firstly, he has to make some sort of progress to get a ROI from the Vooch trade. That will probably go a long way to ensuring Zach re-signs with us but then what? He desperately needs to find that elusive 3rd wheel or option and make sure that player fits the mold most have been describing here for months (A dependable creator/distributor who can get to the line, shoot from 3, and guard the perimeter).
Even with that there is no concievable way they are going to springboard the aforementioned 4 teams and then possibly have a puncher´s chance at getting past the top 3 dawgs (Sixers, Bucks, & Nets), or is there? Here is his write up which is not too bad considering the fluff pieces he has written over the past few years. What Cowley is indicating is that we are on a fast track to either one & done or perennial 2nd round exits (treadmill).

https://chicago.suntimes.com/sports-saturday/2021/6/5/22519791/offseason-plans-are-nice-but-bulls-arent-alone-in-the-east

That’s the next step. (To be a contender and crack to the 4-8 bracket).

And, as Karnisovas indicated, ‘‘You cannot skip steps.’’

New York Knicks

Final 2020-21 seed: Fourth.

Payroll for 2021-22 season: $49.7 million.

Outlook: No team is in a better salary-cap situation than the Knicks heading into free agency this summer. Problem is, it’s not a star-heavy free-agent class. Could they add key contributors to play alongside Julius Randle and an emerging RJ Barrett? Absolutely. Expect them to be in on players such as Lonzo Ball and Lauri Markkanen.

Likelihood of the Bulls jumping them: Small. While the Bulls are more talented on paper, the Knicks simply will play harder than LaVine, Vucevic and Co. during the course of a season. That’s what Tom Thibodeau-coached teams do.

Atlanta Hawks

Final 2020-21 seed: Fifth.

Payroll for 2021-22 season: $95.4 million.

Outlook: While the old Bulls regime was making mistake after mistake during the rebuild, the Hawks were doing the opposite. Their draft picks have panned out, and their free-agent decision-making has been way better than the Bulls’ since 2017. It will be interesting to see what happens with restricted free agent John Collins.

Likelihood of the Bulls jumping them: Small. The Hawks have a better all-around team, both with their starting lineup and their depth. They also have cap room to retain Collins or shop elsewhere.

Miami Heat

Final 2020-21 seed: Sixth.

Payroll for 2021-22 season: $77.8 million.

Outlook: Something was off all season with the Heat. Whether it was fatigue from reaching the NBA Finals in the bubble last season and having a quick turnaround or a growing chemistry issue in the locker room, the culture looked broken. Expect Pat Riley to fix that and for them to continue to build around Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

Likelihood of the Bulls jumping them: Small. Riley doesn’t let issues fester; he cleans them up immediately. Expect changes, and the Heat’s ‘‘Big Two’’ are just better all-around players than the Bulls’ ‘‘Big Two.’’

Boston Celtics

Final 2020-21 seed: Seventh.

Payroll for 2021-22 season: $132.9 million.

Outlook: The front office already is getting an overhaul, with Danny Ainge retiring as president and Brad Stevens moving out of his coaching seat into Ainge’s office. Barring a trade, the roster is pretty much locked in. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum will be the focal points, surrounded by Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart in the last season of his contract.

Likelihood of the Bulls jumping them: Small. Even with the massive changes going on upstairs, the Celtics are just better than the Bulls when they’re healthy. Smart would be a big loss if they move him, but Brown and Tatum are a handful, even with Walker’s ugly contract.
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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#2 » by HomoSapien » Tue Jun 8, 2021 9:17 am

I don't know. That list doesn't look that scary to me.

Boston is going to have trouble finding a better coach than Brad Stevens. Miami finished the playoffs looking old. The Knicks seemed to play completely above their talent level.

If we can find the right role players, l feel good about us becoming a playoff team next year. We're still one of the few teams (or possibly the only) that has two current All-Stars on the roster.
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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#3 » by BullChit » Tue Jun 8, 2021 10:23 am

HomoSapien wrote:I don't know. That list doesn't look that scary to me.

Boston is going to have trouble finding a better coach than Brad Stevens. Miami finished the playoffs looking old. The Knicks seemed to play completely above their talent level.

If we can find the right role players, l feel good about us becoming a playoff team next year. We're still one of the few teams (or possibly the only) that has two current All-Stars on the roster.


Yeah I gotta agree here... Downer Cowley is really overrating pretty much every team except Atlanta on that list.

If AKME can make some moves to balance this team out there is absolutely no reason we can't be right there with a lot of these teams.

Remember AK said the goal this year was playoffs (we missed) next year would have been second round etc to lure big stars to the winning culture we are building and I think we can get there.

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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#4 » by MalagaBulls » Tue Jun 8, 2021 10:30 am

HomoSapien wrote:I don't know. That list doesn't look that scary to me.

Boston is going to have trouble finding a better coach than Brad Stevens. Miami finished the playoffs looking old. The Knicks seemed to play completely above their talent level.

If we can find the right role players, l feel good about us becoming a playoff team next year. We're still one of the few teams (or possibly the only) that has two current All-Stars on the roster.
I think the only team that has done a better overall job on roster construction is Atlanta. Their current 1-5 are just better. We need PWill to take a pretty large jump in progress next year, but even with that I think he would be the 4th option with about 13-14 PPG.
The most glaring need is that 3rd wheel to average 17-18 PPG and ve able to create, shoot 3's, and defend to some degree.
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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#5 » by dougthonus » Tue Jun 8, 2021 11:40 am

The Knicks were a 47 win team on a pro-rated basis and were fourth.

Ignore the talent, ignore the names on the rosters. If the Bulls can take care of themselves and add a bit of talent, the jump up to 45ish wins isn't that dramatic based on the talent they have.

I don't know if everything will go well for them, but it sure as heck wouldn't be shocking if they make some type of improvement this off-season and with a healthy Zach/Vuc that we could make it to 45 wins.

I mean, my view on being a 45 win team that's going to need to be rebuild in 2-3 years is kind of "so what", but I don't think it is long odds to get there. It'd be incredibly disappointing if this team can't pull off at least 41 wins next season.
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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#6 » by WindyCityBorn » Tue Jun 8, 2021 12:28 pm

dougthonus wrote:The Knicks were a 47 win team on a pro-rated basis and were fourth.

Ignore the talent, ignore the names on the rosters. If the Bulls can take care of themselves and add a bit of talent, the jump up to 45ish wins isn't that dramatic based on the talent they have.

I don't know if everything will go well for them, but it sure as heck wouldn't be shocking if they make some type of improvement this off-season and with a healthy Zach/Vuc that we could make it to 45 wins.

I mean, my view on being a 45 win team that's going to need to be rebuild in 2-3 years is kind of "so what", but I don't think it is long odds to get there. It'd be incredibly disappointing if this team can't pull off at least 41 wins next season.


Don’t need to rebuild if Williams reaches his full potential and/or we get lucky in the draft lottery.
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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#7 » by dougthonus » Tue Jun 8, 2021 1:03 pm

WindyCityBorn wrote:Don’t need to rebuild if Williams reaches his full potential and/or we get lucky in the draft lottery.


Sure, but literally the same statement can be made about any team if they win the lottery and a guy that doesn't remotely look like a star becomes one against all odds.
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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#8 » by gardenofsound » Tue Jun 8, 2021 1:41 pm

dougthonus wrote:
WindyCityBorn wrote:Don’t need to rebuild if Williams reaches his full potential and/or we get lucky in the draft lottery.


Sure, but literally the same statement can be made about any team if they win the lottery and a guy that doesn't remotely look like a star becomes one against all odds.


But isn't this also generally the way all teams have gotten really good? Isn't luck a huge part of it?

The way I see it, the Bulls--like just about every team not based out of LA--will need a some luck to turn the corner. Whether that's getting a top 4 this lotto, or Project Pat turns into a two way all-star caliber player, or some player close to the end of their deal demands to go to Chicago. Those are the turns of luck that the Bulls will need.
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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#9 » by DuckIII » Tue Jun 8, 2021 1:50 pm

HomoSapien wrote:I don't know. That list doesn't look that scary to me.

Boston is going to have trouble finding a better coach than Brad Stevens. Miami finished the playoffs looking old. The Knicks seemed to play completely above their talent level.

If we can find the right role players, l feel good about us becoming a playoff team next year. We're still one of the few teams (or possibly the only) that has two current All-Stars on the roster.


We need a lot more than “role players” to be relevant. Being “a playoff team” is meaningless and can even be a negative unless: (a) you are a legitimately contending playoff team (top 4-5 and competitive); (b) on a plausible path to get there as a rising team).

Our path to become either thing is extremely narrow.
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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#10 » by dougthonus » Tue Jun 8, 2021 1:53 pm

gardenofsound wrote:But isn't this also generally the way all teams have gotten really good? Isn't luck a huge part of it?


Yes, absolutely.

The way I see it, the Bulls--like just about every team not based out of LA--will need a some luck to turn the corner. Whether that's getting a top 4 this lotto, or Project Pat turns into a two way all-star caliber player, or some player close to the end of their deal demands to go to Chicago. Those are the turns of luck that the Bulls will need.


I agree completely. Our odds of luck are much lower given that we gave up two of our 1st round picks in the next 3 drafts. While a top 4 pick on a move up would be a much higher chance of a star, even drafting #8 would be a much, much greater chance of us getting lucky than without that pick.
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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#11 » by dougthonus » Tue Jun 8, 2021 1:54 pm

DuckIII wrote:
HomoSapien wrote:I don't know. That list doesn't look that scary to me.

Boston is going to have trouble finding a better coach than Brad Stevens. Miami finished the playoffs looking old. The Knicks seemed to play completely above their talent level.

If we can find the right role players, l feel good about us becoming a playoff team next year. We're still one of the few teams (or possibly the only) that has two current All-Stars on the roster.


We need a lot more than “role players” to be relevant. Being “a playoff team” is meaningless and can even be a negative unless: (a) you are a legitimately contending playoff team (top 4-5 and competitive); (b) on a plausible path to get there as a rising team).

Our path to become either thing is extremely narrow.


I agree with you, though Cowley's opinion (and the topic in this particular thread) is that we don't even have a hope to be the low run playoff team, and that seems overly negative.
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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#12 » by DuckIII » Tue Jun 8, 2021 1:57 pm

dougthonus wrote:
DuckIII wrote:
HomoSapien wrote:I don't know. That list doesn't look that scary to me.

Boston is going to have trouble finding a better coach than Brad Stevens. Miami finished the playoffs looking old. The Knicks seemed to play completely above their talent level.

If we can find the right role players, l feel good about us becoming a playoff team next year. We're still one of the few teams (or possibly the only) that has two current All-Stars on the roster.


We need a lot more than “role players” to be relevant. Being “a playoff team” is meaningless and can even be a negative unless: (a) you are a legitimately contending playoff team (top 4-5 and competitive); (b) on a plausible path to get there as a rising team).

Our path to become either thing is extremely narrow.


I agree with you, though Cowley's opinion (and the topic in this particular thread) is that we don't even have a hope to be the low run playoff team, and that seems overly negative.


Oh yeah, I misread the title (and didn’t read the article). It says “top tier” which I seized on, but then says that means 4-7. My bad. Sure, we can “make the playoffs” next year. Yay.
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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#13 » by Tetlak » Tue Jun 8, 2021 1:59 pm

Lmao the Knicks? Their best player appeared to be Derrick Rose during the playoffs. They are one of the least talented teams in the league. Imagine saying that a team like that is entrenched as a top 4 team in the East.

Even when they inevitably get Demar Derozan or whatever, they're not scaring anybody.

The Heat also don't scare anybody.

Boston - yes, just because the Tatum and Brown core.

Hawks - yes.
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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#14 » by DuckIII » Tue Jun 8, 2021 2:01 pm

Tetlak wrote:Lmao the Knicks? Their best player appeared to be Derrick Rose during the playoffs. They are one of the least talented teams in the league. Imagine saying that a team like that is entrenched as a top 4 team in the East.

Even when they inevitably get Demar Derozan or whatever, they're not scaring anybody.

The Heat also don't scare anybody.

Boston - yes, just because the Tatum and Brown core.

Hawks - yes.


Do the Bulls “scare anybody”? Besides me?
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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#15 » by Tetlak » Tue Jun 8, 2021 2:07 pm

DuckIII wrote:
Tetlak wrote:Lmao the Knicks? Their best player appeared to be Derrick Rose during the playoffs. They are one of the least talented teams in the league. Imagine saying that a team like that is entrenched as a top 4 team in the East.

Even when they inevitably get Demar Derozan or whatever, they're not scaring anybody.

The Heat also don't scare anybody.

Boston - yes, just because the Tatum and Brown core.

Hawks - yes.


Do the Bulls “scare anybody”? Besides me?


Nope, but Zach Lavine certainly is scarier than anyone on the Knicks or Heat at the moment. Especially after what Booker is doing in the playoffs.
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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#16 » by TheSuzerain » Tue Jun 8, 2021 2:38 pm

Knicks are interesting because Thibs teams tend to have a fuse. But I'd think he'll keep the locker room for another 2 years yet at least.

But yeah otherwise that looks accurate. I don't see how we're going to pass some of these teams. 45 wins "seems" doable but might actually be extremely optimistic from a practical perspective.

We're almost surely not going to have a good defense with Lavine/Vuc playing huge minutes. So we need to have an elite offense, yet we have no capable playmakers for others other than perhaps Vuc.

Unless Williams takes a huge step or we unexpectedly operate below the cap to make a splash, then I don't really see how we enter the playoff picture beyond the 7th/8th spot.
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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#17 » by TheSuzerain » Tue Jun 8, 2021 2:39 pm

dougthonus wrote:
DuckIII wrote:
HomoSapien wrote:I don't know. That list doesn't look that scary to me.

Boston is going to have trouble finding a better coach than Brad Stevens. Miami finished the playoffs looking old. The Knicks seemed to play completely above their talent level.

If we can find the right role players, l feel good about us becoming a playoff team next year. We're still one of the few teams (or possibly the only) that has two current All-Stars on the roster.


We need a lot more than “role players” to be relevant. Being “a playoff team” is meaningless and can even be a negative unless: (a) you are a legitimately contending playoff team (top 4-5 and competitive); (b) on a plausible path to get there as a rising team).

Our path to become either thing is extremely narrow.


I agree with you, though Cowley's opinion (and the topic in this particular thread) is that we don't even have a hope to be the low run playoff team, and that seems overly negative.

The "overly negative" takes on this team since the Butler trade have tended to be the accurate ones.
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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#18 » by dougthonus » Tue Jun 8, 2021 2:41 pm

TheSuzerain wrote:The "overly negative" takes on this team since the Butler trade have tended to be the accurate ones.


Fair point. Though I'll one up you and say overly negative takes since Derrick tore his ACL have probably been accurate with the exception of Joakim's magical year.
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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#19 » by Chicago-Bull-E » Tue Jun 8, 2021 3:16 pm

Playoff teams have talent, it's been like this since the dawn of time. As a team with less talent, I suppose it can be intimidating to figure out how you're going to get better than those teams. But that's how athletics work.

The East doesn't have some massive talent influx, like the Western conference has had for a few decades. None of the teams listed have won any championships. None of these teams are some unstoppable juggernauts. They're good, so get better.
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Re: Cowley: Bulls chances to be a top tier playoff (top 4-7) are pretty thin over the next 2 years 

Post#20 » by TheStig » Tue Jun 8, 2021 3:23 pm

dougthonus wrote:The Knicks were a 47 win team on a pro-rated basis and were fourth.

Ignore the talent, ignore the names on the rosters. If the Bulls can take care of themselves and add a bit of talent, the jump up to 45ish wins isn't that dramatic based on the talent they have.

I don't know if everything will go well for them, but it sure as heck wouldn't be shocking if they make some type of improvement this off-season and with a healthy Zach/Vuc that we could make it to 45 wins.

I mean, my view on being a 45 win team that's going to need to be rebuild in 2-3 years is kind of "so what", but I don't think it is long odds to get there. It'd be incredibly disappointing if this team can't pull off at least 41 wins next season.

Add in what happens every year. Someone will get injured, someone will demand out, someone will disappoint (like we did) and it's never the same 8.

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