CHICAGO - Long before the coronavirus pandemic prompted this ongoing NBA stoppage, fans have already been socially distancing themselves from the United Center.
Per BasketballReference.com, attendance at Bulls home games dropped from second to fourth in the league overall.
Before the hiatus, the Bulls played 34 home games where they drew an average of 18,804 fans. It's a steep decline from the 20,084 fans they pulled per home game during the 2018-19 season.
The 1,280 empty seats per outing may not be much, but it's bad for business because it has a trickle down effect on the sales of parking tickets, food and beverage, as well as pricey merchandise at the official team store.
Even though the Bulls are taking a bath with criticism, I still think they have a good product on the floor. It's the performance that needs a lot of improvement.
Their current home record is 14-20. Who wants to see that and can you blame the paying public for choosing to keep money in their pockets than endure sore eyes?
Head coach Jim Boylen is a good man but the jury is still out on whether he is the right man for the job.
So far, doubt is winning.
The hard practices he conducts and the weird timeouts he calls with seconds to play when the game is beyond reach can be justified somehow. But ultimately, Boylen will be judged by wins and losses.
Since taking over the top spot last December 3, 2018, his record is 39-84. I don't know if that's good enough to satisfy the franchise's top brass but I can tell you for sure that a 31.7 percent winning clip ain't going to lure disenchanted fans back in the building.
UNDERWHELMING. In my library of errors as a columnist, the tale of Tomas Satoransky belongs in the first aisle.
I was so high on the Czech native when he inked with the Bulls, so much so that in an October 14, 2019 piece, I wrote about how "smart, sure-handed and savvy" the 6-foot-7, 198-pound point guard was.
He still has those qualities but he shows them in spurts, not with the consistency of a leader who was given a three-year $30 million deal, a huge bump from the three-year $9 million contract he worked with as a Washington Wizard.
A full-time starter (64 stars in 65 games), Satoransky is averaging 9.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists per.
I wouldn't call him a flop but he's definitely not box office, either.
Which is probably why he will lose his starting point guard slot to the quickly emerging Coby White.
After an inconsistent start, the rookie out of North Carolina finally found his footing during the Bulls' last 10 games prior to the halt in action.
Per The Chicago Sun-Times, White normed 24.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per during that revealing stretch. He also hit 46.8 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from 3-land.
With Zach LaVine's future in Chicago potentially up in the air, Coby could be the next face of the franchise who can put butts back on the seats at the United Center.
NO HEP, HEP HURRAY FOR MURRAY. A salacious sex video involving Denver Nuggets star Jamal Murray surfaced this week. He said his Instagram account was hacked and that he was sorry.
In the name of investigative journalism, I watched the 12-second clip again and again and again. It gave new meaning to the words "gifted" and "lip service."
I feel terrible for the woman. I can't imagine what her parents must feel considering that the video was leaked to Murray's 480,000 IG followers, many of whom were eager to share.
I feel no such sentiment for Murray.
Sex is supposed to be an intimate moment best left behind the walls of a couple's privacy.
Jamal Murray sadly chose to make it into a documentary.
But he's only 23, I guess not wise enough to understand that if there was no recording there would have been nothing to hack and leak in the first place.