Chicago Bulls Season Preview

bulls

The Chicago Bulls opened their off season by moving Derrick Rose, with Gar Forman stating he wanted the team to be ‘younger and more athletic’. With this in mind it’s no surprise eyebrows were raised when they then proceeded to sign Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo as two pieces of their new look starting five.

Many have since questioned the team’s plan for the coming season, so just what can they achieve?

Replacing the Bulls old ‘guard’

Chicago’s own is gone. It started so brightly for Derrick Rose with an MVP award and the Bulls taking first seed in the east in 2011. Then with the team up late at home to the 76ers, and no need for Rose to be on the floor, he slipped and tore his ACL.

From that moment he was never the same.

Bulls

Although we saw glimpses of MVP Rose last season it seems the Bulls had grown tired of Rose. With a choice of him or Butler seemingly necessary, it wasn’t a hard choice. So with one point guard with little 3 point shooting gone, the Bulls welcome Rajon Rondo.

Three Point Shooting…

With the way the game is changing, and the style Hoiberg favoured before he took the Bulls job, you’d be forgiven for wondering where Chicago’s three-point shooting is going to come from this year. Veteran Mike Dunleavy has moved on and neither Wade or Rondo are renowned for shooting the three. However Wade has made reference to the fact he was limited within Miami’s system and shot an impressive 52% in last season’s post season.

The Bulls also have Doug McDermott, who finally started looking like the scorer he was in college after an injury hit first season. McDermott shot 43% from deep last season and has spent the summer working on defense with Jimmy Butler to try and ensure he can stay on the court to close games.

Nikola Mirotic is expected to start at power forward to give the Bulls more space, but like McDermott the question will be whether he can step up defensively after looking weak to this point.

Spacing and Ball Handling

frontcourt

‘Who is going to be the Bulls primary ball handler?’ I hear you ask.

Rondo requires the ball to impact the game given his weak shooting stats, Wade has only ever given up to ball when he had Lebron onside and Butler last year made a case for handling the ball more. Hoiberg’s response when questioned was “We’ve got an idea for how we want to play. We’ve got to have good ball movement with this group.”

The test will be can they have enough of a threat from deep to allow enough spacing, as with the greatest will in the world if five bodies are crowding the paint, ball movement isn’t going to happen.

Playoffs for the Bulls?

Where will the Bulls end up? With so many teams of a similar calibre in the East, and so many questions regarding the Bulls’ system, it’s a tough question to answer.

Making the playoffs with options to move pieces in free agency next season might be the ceiling, which would represent an improvement on last season’s car crash.

The opposing view, from @pbsportswriter

Never mind about the Bulls’ offence, which could be a trainwreck, what about their defence?

They were a poor team on D last season and have added two players in Rondo and Wade who offer next to nothing defensively.

Then you replace one of the NBA’s elite defensive big men in Joakim Noah with Robin Lopez, who is a decent rim protector but hardly an upgrade. It doesn’t inspire confidence.

Spacing is clearly going to be an issue with so many players on this team who want the ball in their hands and little legitimate three-point shooting.

But the bigger problem will be how all those egos survive if the Bulls start badly.

This is Butler’s team. But Wade and Rondo will carry the can if it all goes wrong, and neither of them will be happy with that.

Don’t expect a play-off run. Expect fireworks.

Let us know which side of the fence you sit on @NBA_UKfans and let Paul know at @pbsportswriter

Brynn Cooper is the founder of NBA_UKfans.

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