Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer haven't gotten it going yet this year. Richard Hamilton and C.J. Watson have been injured. Luol Deng has lost his three point shot, and after a hot start has seen his TS% drop to 46.7%. Yet despite all these gripes, the Bulls are sitting pretty.
Somehow through all their problems, the Chicago Bulls are sitting atop the Eastern conference with the fewest losses and most wins. They've played a road heavy schedule featuring a group of tough opponents on the road (Lakers, Clippers, Magic, and Hawks on the road).
They've already cleared their single back to back to back this season, and they're halfway through the most condensed month on their schedule. All in all, things are looking pretty darn good.
Am I concerned about Noah and Boozer? Sure, but I'll take that over concern on whether or not my superstar can close out a game in the fourth quarter [Miami]. I'll take it over wondering if my superstar is going to force a trade [Orlando]. Whether my team is too old [Boston], not good enough [Atlanta], or can defend/has depth [New York].
Every team has problems, but the Bulls problems seem pretty minor right now, and everything feels worse in a shortened season where teams are all shaky offensively due to a lack of continuity.
The Bulls have tons of upside to improve on the best start in basketball. Joakim Noah will play himself into shape. Richard Hamilton and C.J. Watson will return from injury. Carlos Boozer, well... did I mention Richard Hamilton will come back from injury? The Bulls offense still has headroom to get ready, and the defense is already in playoff form.
Derrick Rose isn't putting up MVP type stats, but his floor game has improved and his impact is just as big as it's always been [the Wizards game will prove that out]. Omer Asik has continued on his career path of defensive beast, and Taj Gibson has become one of the best backup PFs in the NBA.
Kyle Korver's knocking down more than half his threes while Ronnie Brewer also appears to have improved his jumper. John Lucas has proven to be an outstanding third PG and even went for 25, 8, and 8 with Rose and Watson out [let's not look too closely at the efficiency numbers on that 25 points though].
Heck, even rookie Jimmy Butler has looked good in the small stretches of game time he's played.
Yes, there are concerns, and I will continue to point out the areas I think the Bulls can improve in but don't lose sight of the bigger picture. The Bulls are playing at a very high level right now, perhaps the best in the NBA. It's worth sitting back and enjoying it for awhile too.