By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) The NBA is an above-the-rim world, and the Bulls aren’t living in it.
It isn’t just Tuesday night’s embarrassment at the hands of the visiting Timberwolves, but more than a season’s worth of sequences in which longer, quicker and more athletic teams go over and past them with too much ease.
Ever since the drafting of Tyrus Thomas blew up in the face of executive John Paxson, the Bulls have prioritized basketball sense, discipline and character over the kind of raw, live-wire ability that populates other rosters. They draft players who have been in school longer in part because they lack such tantalizing traits.
Two of them never got off the bench Tuesday, with Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine both healthy scratches. Another two first-rounders — Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic — combined to miss all their 3-point shots.
Forced to play the bigger and longer but limited Cristiano Felicio, the Bulls start losing matchups before the game even starts and then lose a game after leading by 21 when they can’t move with enough quick twitch or explosiveness.
It’s a glaring deficiency that isn’t getting better anytime soon.