Bulls need to right the ship with the playoffs bearing down on them

If Zach LaVine knew how to fix it, the All-Star guard swears it would have been repaired.

That in itself is the real concern.

The Bulls resemble a lost ship at sea, broken, directionless, and headed into the belly of a storm they have no protection from.

A long journey that doesn’t feel like it’s going to end well.

“We’ve got to figure it out,” LaVine said of a season suddenly gone very wrong. “We’re not doing that, plain and simple. Everybody, top to bottom, coaching staff, everybody’s involved. We just got to do a better job because it’s (the playoffs) right around the corner. We can’t let this happen. It’s embarrassing. I’m going to fight. I’m going to go down swinging either way.”

Tough talk, but there have been very little swings of retaliation lately, and it likely won’t be coming in the season finale on Sunday, with the Timberwolves locked into their play-in position and having nothing at all to play for.

That means any sort of competition felt by this Bulls team before they step into a playoff game for the first time since 2017, will have to come in practice and against each other.

It will be up to coach Billy Donovan to figure out how often and how hard they go at each other this next week.

“I do think taking a day and letting those guys recover [on Monday] would be important,” Donovan said. “And then I do think that because there’s a length of time where these guys could be so out of rhythm, they’re used to operating every other day or back-to-backs, so we’re going to have to incorporate some kind of scrimmage and contact, banging and doing those things because I don’t think you cannot not play for six days or seven days, and then all of a sudden go into your playoff game.

“They’ll be a recovery piece, too. And how do you manage Zach’s knee during that time? Medical will be heavily involved in that. How do we manage Alex [Caruso’s] back? They’ll be heavily involved in that. I just don’t think you can necessarily go out there and script or just go through defensive concepts. There’s always that line you’re walking where is it too much or not enough?”

Especially with a team that looks completely out of sorts like the Bulls have the last few weeks.

April is expected to be the time a team is playing its best basketball of the season. The Bulls look like a team that feels like the season came to an end on April 1.

Now they will be expected to go from dead-team walking to a powerhouse capable of ending the hopes of the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, all in the flip of a switch?

“It’s one of those tests we wish we would have had earlier in the season,” veteran DeMar DeRozan said. “We had so much success so fast I knew at some point we were going to have to deal with this type of adversity. You never want it at the end of the road.

“It’s kind of like going through high school, you’re getting all A’s as a freshman and sophomore, and then junior and senior year you have AP [Advanced Placement] classes and it’s just extremely hard.”

Especially when the last four tests have come back with F’s.

As far as who the Bulls will play starting next weekend? That won’t be situated until Sunday. But unless there’s major changes with the mindset of this roster, the opponent won’t matter much.

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