The Chicago Bulls’ loss in game six of the Eastern Conference semifinals to the ascendant Cleveland Cavaliers may not have come as a surprise to many basketball fans, especially given the Bulls’ lackluster performance. Moving forward, however, may require some surprising moves. Tom Thibodeau, the embattled head coach, may not be with the team for long, if rumors are true. While he deserves credit for rebuilding the team following the Jordan era, his leadership of the team in the playoffs has led to a losing record. In addition to a new head coach, however, the team has many needs for the next season.
First, the Bulls’ second unit is in dire need of rebuilding. The heavy hitters across the league require some improved stopping power, and the Bulls have looked surprisingly weak against players like DeMar DeRozan, to say nothing of LeBron James. Jimmy Butler has looked good, but he desperately needs a partner in defense. Meanwhile, the reserve point guards, while decent scorers, have largely been defensively lacking, in part due to Thibodeau’s preference for relatively smaller players in the position. The starting team also could use some help. While Pau Gasol has performed admirably, the team collapses without him, as it did against Cleveland. Whatever happens next, the Bulls have known weaknesses and a head coach battling rumors of being fired. With any luck, these will all be resolved to the team’s benefit, and Chicago can look forward to having a basketball team that it can be proud of once again.