Andre Gomes NBA Chicago Bulls 2010-2011 Season Preview

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Andre Gomes NBA Chicago Bulls 2010-2011 Season Preview

 

2009/10 Season Review:

The Chicago Bulls entered last season with some expectations after a splendid first round matchup against the Boston Celtics in the previous year, in which the Bulls lost in 7 games.

They choose to not give an extension to Ben Gordon and the plan was to hope for the natural development of Rose and Noah in both ends of the floor. The outcome wasn’t great because the Bulls ended the regular season with the same exactly record than the previous year: a pedestrian .500 record 41-41! Due to this (and some personal problems with the GM and the players) Vinny Del Negro is no longer the Bulls Head Coach.

What went wrong with the Bulls last season?

It’s curious that the Bulls hired defensive guru Head Coach Tom Thibodeau, but the Bulls were actually a good defensive team last season. According to my rankings the Bulls were the 11th best defense in the league and the 9th best team in rebound margin. We are not talking about an elite defensive unit, but with this kind of defense they should be in a position to win more games so naturally it was their offense that couldn’t keep up the slack.

The Bulls were the fourth worst offensive team (offensive efficiency) in the league last season! They shot only 45.1% from the field – 25th best mark and behind the arc the numbers weren’t pretty at all: 33.02% - good for the third worst mark in the NBA! Also they didn’t have any inside threat that could score points with some ease and obviously they were a predictable team on the offensive end and relatively easy to be stopped.

Besides the offensive problems the Bulls didn’t have the proper depth to compete for a long 82-games marathon regular season. Their bench was the second worst shooting unit (shooting only 41.5% from the field) in the NBA trailing only the Nets. Once Noah and Rose got injured at the same time, the Bulls went in a 10-games losing streak in March!

Still they were able to sneak into the Playoffs as the 8th seed, but they were no match for the Cleveland Cavaliers. For the second consecutive season, the Bulls were eliminated in the first round, but this time the season didn’t satisfy the organization or the fans.

2009/10 Advanced Stats:

Pace                10th 96.9
Offense Eff.           27th 100.6
Defense Eff.          11th 102.5
Rebounds       9th +1.84

2010/11 Outlook:

The Bulls had a busy offseason as they were one of the candidates to sign Lebron James, but still their objectives were pretty clear:

By hiring Tom Thibodeau to be the new Head Coach, the Bulls want to be an elite defensive team, being a good defensive team isn’t enough right now. By signing free agent PF Carlos Boozer, the Bulls finally added an inside threat down low that can score ease points and they wanted as well to have some depth in the roster and they added some interesting role players.

Derrick Rose is the face of this franchise and there is no reason to think otherwise for the future. After being named Rookie of the Year in 08-09 he earned an All Star spot last season by averaging 20.8ppg and 6.0apg. He’s not a prototype playmaker Point Guard as he’s more a scorer almost near impossible to stop off the dribble. His 3pts range is a working in progress and with Boozer to work with in the post we can expect Rose to run a lot of pick n’ roll plays and so it’s imperative for him to knock down those mid jumpers like Deron Williams did in Utah with Boozer.

Now that Kirk Hinrich is gone, the Bulls signed C.J. Watson from the Warriors to be Rose’s backup. Like Rose, Watson is a flashy Point Guard that can score in transition and he is a good long range shooter, his defense is suspicious but playing in Golden State really doesn’t tell us how good his defensive abilities are.

At the shooting guard position the Bulls have 3 new players to rotate in a complete makeover from last season. Ronnie Brewer is the frontrunner to earn the starting job, as he showed in Utah that he is a good defensive player averaging over 1.60 steals per game and surely Thibodeau will love him. His athleticism makes him a great threat to score in a transition but like Derrick Rose he is far from being a threat on the outside. This could be problematic because without having any real good outside shooter in the starting lineup the Bulls are somehow predictable on the offensive end.

In order to solve these potential problems the Bulls signed Kyle Korver and Keith Bogans. Korver is a one-dimensional player that is excellent in just 2 things: hitting treys and free throws. Last season he hit 53.5% behind the arc and he is a 90% career player from the charity stripe. He can’t defend at all but he is that kind of situational player that any team loves to have in their roster. Keith Bogans adds some toughness and depth to the backcourt.

Even though the Bulls wanted Lebron James to be the starting Small Forward of the team they still have a solid SF in Luol Deng. Deng isn’t or won’t be a truly Superstar in this league, but still he is a solid player. Last season he averaged 17.6 points per game, while shooting 46.6% from the field and his 7.3 rebounds per game is the 3rd best mark in the league amongst Small Forwards trailing only Gerald Wallace and Kevin Durant. I expect him to improve his shooting % numbers, as being the third offensive option he will have more room to operate. His underrated defense will be a great help for Thibodeau in order to stop Lebron James and Paul Pierce in the Eastern Conference. Behind him the Bulls have James Johnson to develop without having the pressure to play major minutes.

For the frontcourt the Bulls added their biggest piece in the off season in Carlos Boozer. In the last years the Bulls didn’t have any real offensive presence down low, Noah offers toughness and great defense, but offensively he doesn’t have the skills to be “the man”. Boozer on the other side has an array of post moves and offensive touch around the basket. He has the ability to finish near the rim with either hand, rebounds well, has a great looking stand-still and fadeaway jumper, and has got some power in him too. Last season in Utah he averaged 19.5pgg while shooting 56.2% from the field, he grabbed 11.2rpg and also dished a career high 3.2 assists per game. He was in the final year of his contract but that doesn’t affect him on the court. Will he have the same production in Chicago? That’s the key question for the organization this season however he is a huge addition for the team and his contract is affordable for the future.

Beneficing from the lack of inside presence in the roster, Taj Gibson had a solid rookie season plenty of minutes played. Surely he won’t average 26.9mpg this season, but his work ethic makes him a perfect role player in this team and a great backup player for any circumstances.

Joakim Noah is the emotional leader of this team and his development last season was brutal! In my opinion he should be a legit candidate for the Most Improved Player, as he improved in every relevant statistic sheet: Points, Rebounds, Assists and Blocks per game. His mark of 11.0 rebounds per game is terrific if we take in account that he played “only” 30.1 minutes per game. Noah battled through the second half of season with a left foot injury (plantar fasciitis) and it looks that he’s completely recovered.

Kurt Thomas and Omer Asik are solid players to give some rest to Noah. Thomas brings some veteran ship, but it is Omer Asik that can offer some solid contribution. He showed some good signs in the FIBA World Cup this summer playing for the hosts Turkey and his athleticism is really impressing.

The Chicago Bulls will be one of the teams to follow this season. Without Lebron James in the Central division, the Bulls will compete with the Bucks for the division and for home court advantage through the playoffs.

  • They definitely go to some lengths to cover up injuries that they don't want released as to how it REALLY happened! Some of these things I hear nowadays.....just can't buy it.

    Great breakdown, Andre!

  • The Bulls have some history about "weird" injuries juniorwaugh,

    Do you remember this one a couple of season ago?

    "Derrick Rose isn't practicing Monday after needing 10 stitches to close a gash in his arm. The Bulls said Rose suffered the injury when he rolled over onto a knife he was using to carve an apple while in bed."

    LOL

    I've watched some Bulls' games this preseason and big man Omer Asik' play has been quite good, however he is more a backup player for Noah so Taj Gibson will have to carry the load

  • Yeah sounds a bit suspect that Boozer injury doesn't AG.

    I think the Bulls will be good but they aren't as deep as I thought, one or two tough stretches with injury will test this team, the starters will log plenty of minutes this season which may wear them down.

  • Bad news for the Bulls and Carlos Boozer:

    " It was just dark. My doorbell had rang and I tripped over a bag, tried to brace myself and it popped. I jumped back up, opened the door and my hand was still a little bit numb. “It was a gym bag. It was a big bag I had first thing over here at the hotel for training camp. I went back to my place, hadn’t unpacked the bag yet, came around the corner, running to get the door and fell over it. I’m 265, 5 percent body fat. I’m heavy, man. I guess I had to brace myself and my weight just collapsed the bone right there."

    Because of the injury, Boozer will have surgery and will miss as many as 15 games.