So you think you're a Bulls homer?

You've probably got nothing on this guy from hoopsworld.

4. Chicago Bulls:  I've been
taking heat for picking the Bulls this highly for quite some time but
I'm sticking to my guns on this one.   I love Derrick Rose and expect
to see a ton of growth from year one to year two.  The great players
typically make a significant leap over that period of time and Rose has
greatness written all over him.  I know Ben Gordon is gone and he hit
big shot after big shot for the Bulls when it mattered the most, but
the Bulls still have some firepower.  John Salmons can score the
basketball (over 18ppg in his only season as a starter) and is an
upper-echelon defender on the perimeter.  Considering the return of a
healthy Luol Deng, the improved play of Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah,
and playing in a relatively weak Central Division, the Bulls are on
their way to hosting a first round playoff series.

My first thought was "This guy is out of his flipping mind".   My second thought was the realization that after the big three it's a giant crap shoot.   Miami might be the 4th best team or possibly Atlanta, but Wade is always a health risk, and Bibby will be slowing down for Atlanta.

I wouldn't put us fourth, but I don't think it's crazy either simply because the teams from 4-10 aren't that distinguishable to me at this point.   It depends on which teams gel together, stay healthy, and stay committed. 


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  • I really can't see it, it looks like both Paul and Williams took big jumps in their 3rd year and I think Rose will mostly like follow that path. Unless we have Rose putting up 20/10, I can't see anything more than a 7 or 8 seed for us. There just isn't another individual scorer to make us a dangerous team.

  • I think we have differing opinions on Deng. To me a 18 and 7 deng like in 06-07 is a good player, but he doesn't make a huge impact. Deng mainly gets his points in the beginning of the first and third quarters and disappears in the 4th. Outside of Rose, you really have no one who can consistently knock down clutch shots or get to the basket or post up. I really think this team will be competitive but will lose a lot of games in the last two minutes. Their defense is suspect, they are easy to push around and not great rebounders and no one is clutch. I have predicted for awhile they miss the playoffs but wouldn't be surprised with a 8 seed. I hope they put it together and prove me wrong and get a 4 seed but I just can't see it. Its really a poorly built team that has a lot of overlaps and lacks scorers, defenders and a front court.

  • In reply to TheStig:

    I think you're underestimating the importance of getting off to a quick start at the beginning of halves. It's true we lack a clutch shooting type, but Rose will be eventually if not this year already, and it wouldn't surprise me if TT emerges. JJ could eventually, too.

    We obviously need an all around, very good SG before we truly contend. But I don't see why Deng wouldn't be a solid 3rd option on that contender, if he stays healthy.

  • In reply to msalivar:

    Oh I understand the importance to star halves strong but unless we are planning of blowing teams out of the gate and only playing blowouts then we will need someone to close games. All playoff teams have that closer. We don't.

    Deng can't be a third option because he can't create offense, his game is predicated around getting open jumpers, cuts and offensive boards from the other team focusing on other players. They don't need 5 guys to shut down Rose and outside of Salmons and maybe Miller, I don't know of anyone on our team that can knock down a clutch shot, let alone create one. I see a lot of close games that are lost in the last couple of minutes because we really don't have the defense or offense to close out games.

  • In reply to TheStig:

    A guy who moves well off the ball demands a lot of defensive attention, and will either break down a defense effectively, or get easy buckets if his defender loses track of him.

    I see no need for every player to have a good handle, especially with a PG like Rose. We have guys around Rose who can finish when he gets them the ball. Noah can finish at the rim, and will likely become a good pick and roll player. TT has a nice jumper which will hopefully start falling, is a good slasher, and will get a step on his drives if the jumper starts falling. Deng can score in essentially every way, so long as you don't expect him to create for himself.

    I think that so long as we get a SG with a good handle and a high basketball IQ, we'll be just fine. Someone like Joe Johnson who can make the right decision to shoot, drive, pass, or put the ball on the floor and take the point when Rose gets in trouble on a drive and has to kick it out. I liked James Harden this year for that very reason, and I have my eye on Evan Turner next year. Of course, that guy will have to be a strong pressure defender as well, but that's a whole different story.

    Then we have JJ who will likely become a third handler for us, so we can always have at least two on the court.

    In my eyes, we're three players away from contending: a defensive and rebounding oriented big to rotate with TT and Noah, an all around allstar caliber SG, and a pure shooting SG to come off the bench.

  • In reply to msalivar:

    Thats nice and all but contending teams almost always have a third scorer. I don't think we will be easily able to add to more scorers and Deng isn't a scorer. He works strictly off opportunity baskets and can't create for himself or others. He can't even obtain opportunity baskets consistently.

  • In reply to TheStig:

    Everyone's going to be a scorer when Rose is on the floor, once he starts demanding some respect. All they have to do is catch the ball and shoot/finish.

    I think you're underrating Deng. He works hard off the ball, and just needs someone to consistently get him the ball when he gets himself in good position. He and Rose really started to mesh before he got injured.

  • In reply to TheStig:

    I just wanted to leave a thought on Last second shots for Rose. I agree with Doug's statement about his cluchness. While he didn't hit any last second game winners, he did make huge shots. I remember hearing during last season that Lebron hadn't made a buzzer beater until this past year. ESPN was the source, so who believe that statement at your own risk.

  • In reply to msalivar:

    If everything goes perfectly for the Bulls and lots of things go wrong with the rest of the east, the Bulls could get as high as fourth.

    However, they are more likely to scramble just to get into the playoffs, just like last season.

    After the big 3, going in you have to put Toronto, Atlanta, Miami, and Washington(if healthy) ahead of the Bulls.

    That leaves the Bulls scrapping with Philly, Indy and Charlotte for the 8th spot.

  • In reply to TheStig:

    Never saw Salmons play before we got him, so it is a small sample, but he seems to have some ability to hit a big shot or make a play in crunch time.

    With both Salmons and Rose being able to put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim, maybe Deng gets some nice open looks in the 4rth and starts hitting them when they matter.

  • Is John Salmons really an "upper-echelon perimeter defender"?

  • In reply to Duke:

    Hah, no. I think that's his way of saying that he's better than Gordon.

  • Salmons could be good and Miller is decent and Rose can step up but thats a big if for Rose. Wasn't Rose 0-13 in clutch shots or something like that, it would be a huge tunraround while seeing much more pressure from defenses. I like Rose but he needs another guy to take the pressure. As you said, they are an all star big man away from being good. They desperately need another scoring option and a pick and roll opens up the court for everyone. But they will still be another legit scorer away from contending, someone like, hmmmm BG. I don't think Salmons is quite to par but will do but how much longer will he last? I also think its way to early to rely on JJ, lets see him play first.

  • You and your doubts on Toronto and Washington. Gentleman's bet between us that one of them make the playoffs. I can't guarantee both because of injury concerns but at least one will make it.

  • Your right, Rose is pretty clutch down the end but he still can't hit that last second shot and no one else can. I still stand by my statement we will be loosing a lot of games in the last couple of minutes unless Rose really becomes dominate at that.

  • Oh, I see, I thought that you thought both were significantly worse, I would still take your bet if the Bulls don't pull off a big deal. I think both are better teams as long as they stay healthy.

  • I guess, we disagree on that, I heard Gil is in the best shape he has ever been and will be ready for the season. I really think they just gave up last year, they added some depth and should be ready to go.

  • I certainly think his career isn't done, plus didn't he reinjure the same knee by trying to get back to early. It certainly possible that he never recovers but Gil is one of the hardest workers in the league, don't let his personality quirks fool you. The fact that he is in great shape is certainly a good sign that he will be able to return to form for at least this year, I don't think its fair to assume he will never recover, even grant hill is a reliable player these days.

  • He doesn't have to be better than he was. He was a 28-29ppg scorer with 6apg before he got injured.

    Also if I remember correctly, Gil reinjured himself by coming back to early, so I don't really think of it as two injuries. Guys like Stat have come back from similar injuries and its not like Gil is old or anything. I think you are taking the extreme Penny/Hill examples, there is nothing to say that his career as an all star is over.

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