With odd pairings and plenty of garbage time (I am looking at you Scalabrine), this is a happy death. Last night, the Chicago Bulls trounced the Indiana Pacers to the tune of 102-74, in front of 21,126 at the UC, thus ending the eight-game preseason. There are a few things we have learned from the preseason, and I shall unfold some of these with you. It will be like a little cruise through eight meaningless, but necessary warm-ups. Without further ado, hop on in and we will take a ride.
- The biggest happy, happy is the explosion of our Man From Sudan, Luol Deng. As our last post mentioned, Deng is hitting his stride, is healthier than he has been in a long time, and is looking like a player that the Bulls should think about giving a $71 million dollar, six year contract to!
- A big surprise this fall has been the play of Omer Asik. The seven-foot Turk came over this summer and was labeled a project. While certainly not a legit starter (but may see some starts due to Carlos Boozer being out and Taj Gibson’s slow start), Asik has shown he can produce on the NBA level. He can block shots and rebound, but he still needs to be to the free throw consistently (he went 2-6 last night) in order to gain respect when getting the ball down low. If he continues to develop, Omer can be a bomb too!
- The biggest concern to come out of the preseason has been at shooting guard. Ronnie Brewer was the penciled-in starter going into training camp, but a hamstring injury that hampered him last year flared up again. He has recovered enough to put in some playing time in the last few games, but his play was far from convincing. CJ Watson (who can play both point and shooting guard) also recovered from a minor injury to get in some time that can best be described as erratic. Bulls fans are going to have to come to the realization that Kyle Korver’s defense is lacking and he is a three point specialist. So that brings us to the likely starter come Wednesday, Keith Bogans. Bogans was signed as a back-up, finding time behind Brewer and Korver. Yet, with what we have seen this preseason, Bogans consistent D and ability to hit the three is at a higher level than any other two guard on the team. Note: that level ain’t very high.
- James Johnson has been a pleasant surprise in the preseason. Johnson did not see much time last year. Over the summer, he dropped 30 pounds and worked on his game. It has shown, and with a team hobbled by injuries, Johnson could see some time in the regular season. If Johnson is able to produce, it gives the Bulls two assets: a deeper bench and an attractive player available for a trade (probably for a shooting guard).
- As for the two fan favorites, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah have picked right up where they left off last season. I look forward to watching them improve even more this season and lead this team to a title run.
- Three Point Fever Update! Derrick Rose: 5-21 (24%), Luol Deng: 15-29 (52%), Taj Gibson: 0-0 (0%). I fully expect Deng to hit over 50% from three for the season.
- And I leave you with Noah’s home.
Rio Casino odds for the Chicago Bulls to win the 2011 NBA Championship: 12-1