She is near. The brutal, yet necessary wench that is the 82-game regular season is nigh! The offseason yahtzeed the basketball world, especially the East. The preseason started to mold the many new looks around the The Association. And now The Fugees have let us know that ready or not, here the NBA comes.
More importantly, here come the Chicago Bulls, for better or worse. Let us dip our foot in the water and take a look at some integral aspects concerning your Chicago Bulls and the road to Number Seven.
- Rose on D – Tom Thibodeau’s main concern with Derrick Rose has been his defense, and rightfully so. While a marvel on the offensive end, Rose’s D has left something to be desired. Coach Thibs’ words have not gone unnoticed. Rose spent the summer with Team USA, focusing on his defense and ball distribution. After rolling over Turkey in the Final, Rose took a week or two off, then headed to the Berto Center to begin training camp. Throughout training camp and the preseason, Rose and Thibs have been tirelessly working on his D. Has it paid off? Coach Thibs and Joakim Noah have both recently spoke up that they thought so. With his lightening-fast speed and crazy dedication to the sport, I see no reason why Rose should not be able to excel on defense, thus becoming a menace on both ends of the court.
- Turnovers – While Rose is pressuring on D and trying to force turnovers, the Bulls need to protect the ball when it is in their hands. Say what you may about the significance (or lack there of) of the preseason, but the Bulls turned over the ball entirely too many times. With a team that is expected to struggle on offense without Boozer, carelessness with the ball is not an option. Hopefully, much of their turnover trouble is due to having many new faces on the team and a bit of gelling will diminish this illness.
- Three Ball – One cure for the turnover plague is to nail threes when you do get shots. Where the Bulls are going to get these threes is still not certain. The Bulls struggled with the three last year, so they went and signed the league’s top three point shooter, Kyle Korver. However, Korver has been battling a sore ankle (cyst) and the Bulls’ options after him are not entirely clear. Keith Bogans will be the starting shooting guard to open the season, and he is a solid three point shooter. After Bogans, the Bulls are going to have to rely on Luol Deng continuing his remarkable preseason form in order to stretch the court. If Deng’s threes drop off, the Bulls offense may very likely go the same direction.
- Down Low – Who is on the boards if these threes do not drop? The likely answer would be Noah and Taj Gibson, with Deng pitching in. That is, if Gibson was 100% and looking like he did last season. With Gibson struggling with his form, the door opens to a few options that are less than savory. First, we can bring out the Jomer! While the pairing of Noah and Omer Asik is as amusing as it is interesting, the more likely pairing will be Noah with Kurt Thomas. Yes, I am aware that Noah and Danny Glover do not make the most lethal of weapons, but it is the safest option. But fear not, with old man Thomas being, well.. old, the Jomer will also get looks (all of this is on the assumption that Gibson will not be fit to go).
- Injuries – Most of these concerns would not be all that great if the gem of the Bulls’ offseason acquisitions, Carlos Boozer, was healthy. The season has yet to start and four out of their eight summer signings have missed time in the preseason. Add to this that Gibson is battling with a bad foot, Deng and Noah have often had to battle to stay healthy in the past, and injuries become the Bulls biggest opponent. To combat this all they can do is cross their fingers and wish on every 11:11 they see. Please join them.