The Bulls might just be on the cusp of greatness, they'll need a few things for that to happen, but they aren't unreasonable things. They'll need Derrick Rose to prove he's still a top five player in the NBA, they'll need overall health of the roster, and they'll need Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng to knock down open shots.
Derrick's health has been discussed about as exhaustively as any topic could be, I'm cautiously optimistic that Derrick will not only stay healthy, but that he'll actually come back improved from where we last saw him play two years ago.
The health of the team is a huge question mark, but Thibodeau didn't push his guys in two-a-days, gave them a day off, and added planned rest for Rose. It would appear that he's starting off training camp with an eye on keeping his guys fresh more so than in the past.
If we assume Derrick Rose is back to MVPing other teams with quickness, strength, and scoring instincts, then the double and triple teams will come. Teams will initially look to pack the lane against Chicago and dare anyone to hit outside shots. While the Bulls can bring Dunleavy and Hinrich off the bench to add shooting, the starting lineup has some question marks in that regard.
Jimmy Butler shot excellently in the tail half of last season where he was well over 40% for the second half of the season and 40.5% for the playoffs. He did that without the benefit of Derrick Rose drawing away a significant portion of the defense.
Luol Deng had a rough shooting season, but he faced more coverage than he would in the past and was playing with a fractured thumb that he didn't disclose. It seems fair to expect his numbers to rise up to the 35-36% range from beyond the arc.
In the end, if I'm a head coach against the Bulls, I still take my chances with Deng and Butler. I hope that Butler was a fluke and Deng has a rough night. It's better than allowing Derrick to break down the defense for easy hoops or to give room to Boozer/Noah on pick and roll plays when they're rolling towards the basket.
However, if the wings can knock down their shots, the Bulls have a chance to be one of the best offenses in the league. We've focused considerably on the lack of a secondary shot creator and inconsistent scoring, but what the Bulls do bring to the table this season is five guys in the starting lineup who are two way players.
No longer is there Keith Bogans who was too scared to put up a shot. No longer is there Ronnie Brewer, who was dangerous defensively and occasionally could knock down a shot or cut, but could largely be left alone on the perimeter. No longer is there Rip Hamilton who gave the Bulls some scoring but could never stay on the court and ultimately used a crapload of possessions to get his points.
Derrick Rose is still the engine of the team, they'll need a powerful engine to win the race, but they won't be driving with three good tires and a flat. Butler and Deng can both score, and this alone considerably improves the offense. If they can prove that they can consistently score from the outside the Bulls go from improved to deadly.