By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) Own it, Bulls. You earned it.
There’s Jimmy Butler at Tuesday night’s NBA draft lottery in New York, part of the tableau of losers on the garish annual game-show set. He’s the perfect representative — the freshly minted superstar who spent the first year of his new maximum contract emasculating his new boss by telling him to coach harder, only to then refuse to run much of the offense he installed and not being able to coexist on the floor with a certain teammate.
Butler is the proxy chump for executives Gar Forman and John Paxson, a human shield to keep their failures from avoidable attention, the same logic that was behind their sneak-attack of a postseason press conference.
This Bulls team was purported to be a championship contender, even through the trade deadline. What they really were was exposed to be something far less than the sum of the parts, the lottery spot well deserved after each pathetic effort kept topping the last.
They ended up being the best of the worst, the lottery team with the 42-40 record and almost no chance of moving up. Chicago holds a 0.5 percent chance of obtaining the top pick and a 1.8 percent shot at a top-three pick. Otherwise, the Bulls will pick No. 14. It’s little comfort that even that may not matter in a year that may not see any of these prospects altering a title trajectory.
Butler will sit with the rumpled execs, coaches and players under the glare of the hot lights, the chosen face of a franchise well on the way to someplace cold and dark.