SACRAMENTO — To some, the Bulls are a mysterious bunch who can’t get it together, and losing nine of 13 games brings about plenty of theories as to why they’re so inconsistent.
Selfishness, agendas, worries have all been brought up, and Pau Gasol said they can all play a part in a team being as inconsistent as the Bulls are. The topic of a team meeting has been broached by the players from media, and count Gasol among those who believe it could be helpful.
Derrick Rose said he’s given it thought, but so far it hasn’t happened yet.
“I’m a fan of it, especially when things aren’t going ... you can put things on the table, discuss them as a group,” said Gasol after the team's morning shootaround at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, hours before their game against the Kings.
This isn’t the most vocal group of guys, so it would have to happen organically as opposed to someone like Gasol, Rose or Jimmy Butler gathering the team around to air out grievances.
“Yeah, or come from the top, come from the coaching staff or the leaders of the team where they say, ‘Hey, this can’t go on or we need to discuss this,'” Gasol said. “It’s just like companies when they have meetings to analyze and evaluate, ‘Hey, what are we doing guys? What are you doing right? What are you doing wrong? Let’s just talk about how we’re doing and how can we be better.’ I think that’s when things are really on the right path, when you approach all things like that.”
It seems like there’s a lot of things the players would need to discuss, though it could be as simple as this team not being as talented as many wanted to believe at the start of the season.
“What’s missing? That’s hard, hard to pinpoint,” Gasol said. “When you look at a situation there’s always an accumulation of factors. Some can be discussed, some are hard to discuss.
“At the end of the day we all have to look ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves, ‘Are we doing enough? Are we doing enough to contribute? Am I worrying about the right things? Am I worrying about the collective or am I just worried about what I do on the floor or the shots that I take, how much am I scoring, how much am I playing?”
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Gasol is one of the few with the championship currency along with current performance to say such things, even if his words aren’t directed to one teammate or another in particular.
It’s clear this team has issues aside from the injuries to the likes of vocal leader Joakim Noah and most recently Nikola Mirotic, whose status is unknown after the Bulls announced he’s still in the hospital after having a hematoma removal over the weekend.
Gasol isn’t willing to concede the injuries are the main reason for the Bulls stumbling to the middle of the Eastern Conference, currently fifth but a game and a half away from the eighth seed.
“All those (previously mentioned) things are the wrong approach to winning, so I think if we are able and capable of changing that approach individually and collectively, I think we’ll be in a better place,” Gasol said. “Yes, we have injuries that are substantial and important, but at the same time there are a lot of teams that go through injuries, and some teams have suffered more than others, but I think our issue is more of that maturity issue or that mental togetherness that we need to bring every single night.”
Gasol said the Bulls can improve, but nearly 50 games into the season it seems a little late to start developing.
“I mean habits are hard to break,” he said. “It doesn’t happen overnight, but you can build on them, you can build out of them. I think that’s a conscience effort that needs to happen, and it can happen. Once you put yourself to the side and you start putting the team first, and doing what’s best for the team.”