I typically am not a big prediction guy. There are too many moving parts, too many variables that you can't account for. There's a reason why people don't accurately predict what happens in sports. If they did, then they'd go to vegas and strike it rich. That being said, it's always fun to state what you expect and see how stupid you look in a year. So here are my top 10 predictions, read them and wager against them.
#10: Vinny Del Negro gets scapegoated for everything bad that happens and gets no credit for anything good that happens. I figured it's fair to play it safe on at least one prediction.
#9: Though he struggles to find minutes, Jannero Pargo has at least two or three moments that remind us of how he single handedly won games for the Bulls in the past by coming in and chucking up shots like they were live hand grenades.
#8: There's at least one extended period in the season where Taj Gibson steals significant playing time from Tyrus Thomas with his scrappiness and hustle, despite his obvious limitations. This creates a huge controversy in the fan base as Gibson's contributions won't show up in the box score as much as Tyrus's do.
#7: James Johnson struggles to find significant playing time unless someone gets hurt. When he does, he shows immense talent on the floor with dazzling moves making fans think the coaching staff is crazy for not playing him. However, his great individual moments come outside of the offensive structure, and the coaching staff struggles to fit his perimeter oriented ball dominant style into the PF position in their offensive scheme.
#6: Joakim Noah starts the season a little slow, but by the end of the season, fans view him as a top 15 center in the NBA, possibly a top 10.
#5: Tyrus Thomas will continue his trend of becoming more and more perimeter oriented, but his jumper will improve enough that Bulls fans will start warming to the idea of keeping him as a backup plan if they strike out in 2010. Tyrus still leaves at the trade deadline or in the off-season.
#4: John Salmons puts up a respectable season, but shows a decline from last year. Fans find out that having a tall SG doesn't improve the defense any as Hinrich continues to sub in for Salmons in defensive situations.
#3: Kirk Hinrich delivers another solid season for the team. He shoots over 40% from the three point line and plays excellent defense, the two primary things the Bulls need in a SG next to Rose. Despite the fact that he provides the two most critical skills necessary to play with Rose, his detractors will still complain that he's a terrible fit at shooting guard.
#2: Luol Deng starts the season on fire immediately squashing doubts by fans. His range is improved, and he starts shooting threes with regularlity.
#1: Derrick Rose shows steady improvements and becomes the first Bulls all-star since Michael Jordan. His improvement makes up for the loss of Ben Gordon in the standings, causing great debate in whether losing Gordon hurt the team or not.