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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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2013/14 NBA Team Preview: Chicago Bulls

Season Review 2012/13:

Advanced Stats
Numbers
Rank
Pace
89.3
27
Offense
103.5
23
Defense
103.2
6
Rebound
51.4
5

4 Factors
Offense
Numbers
Rank
Defense
Numbers
Rank
eFG%
47.0
29
eFG%
47.7
4
TO%
13.6
10
TO%
13.2
21
Reb%
29.4
5
Reb%
26.4
14
FT%
20.1
17
FT%
20.6
16

Monthly Performance
Record
OffRtg
DefRtg
November
 7-7
103.9
101.1
December
 9-6
102.3
103.3
January
 12-4
107.7
100.5
February
 5-8
101.9
106.9
March
 7-7
105.7
110.2
April
 5-5
106.6
107.2


If there were any doubts that Coach Tom Thibodeau was an elite coach, they were all shredded with Chicago having a much better season than expected given the huge problems that they had with injuries throughout the whole season.

Of course that Derrick Rose was the big factor of the Bulls season by sitting out the whole year. However, that’s also true that there was a clear downgrade on the Bulls’ second unit in comparison with the previous season. They went from C.J. Watson, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, Taj Gibson and Omer Asik to Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli, Richard Hamilton, Taj Gibson and Nazr Mohammed! Still, the Bulls were competitive against every team in the league!

Chicago’s defense was always the main motive why they were so competitive and its decline on the second half of the season explains the team’s inconsistency with a 17-20 record since February 1. This inconsistency was quite clear in some “weird and unexpected” results like losing on Christmas Day at home against Houston by 97-120, the New Year’s Eve loss against the Bobcats, the 27-point blown lead against the Bucks and the 42-point loss to the Kings.

When Kirk Hinrich and Joakim Noah went down with injuries on the second half of the season, Chicago stopped being an elite defense and they started losing games to accessible opponents. However, it was still Chicago which stopped Miami’s legendary winning streak in March and the Knicks’ 13-game winning streak in April.

Chicago ended the regular season with the #5 seed on the East and they had a matchup against Brooklyn in the first round. Even with Noah being physically limited and without Luol Deng on the last two games of the series, the Bulls showed a great fighting spirit against the Nets and eventually won the Game 7 on the road, with a hobbled Joakim Noah having 12-17 FG, 24 points, 14 rebounds and 6 blocks!

Then against the Heat, Chicago surprised by winning the Game 1 of the series at Miami, but then with their lack of depth being exposed, especially on the backcourt, Miami eventually won the following four games of the series to sent the Bulls home.

Nothing can be negatively said to Chicago last season, considering the tough circumstances that they faced through the season. The whole Derrick Rose soap opera was extended throughout the whole season and he eventually didn’t play in a single game.


Offseason Report:

Derrick Rose’s return is enough reason for Chicago to be one of the off-season’s biggest winners, assuming that Rose gets back into a similar level to the one he showed prior to his injury.

The Bulls have a tight salary cap and so, they were limited to improve the team during the off-season. Marco Belinelli’s move to San Antonio forced Chicago to find a new perimeter player with some shooting range and so, they signed Mike Dunleavy.

It would be prudent for Chicago to find a proper backup for Joakim Noah, but that didn’t happen and the veteran Nazr Mohammed will be once again Noah’s backup this season.


Season Preview:

Assuming that Derrick Rose will be close from his peak level and that the team manages to remain healthy throughout the season, then there aren’t reasons not to consider the Bulls as one of the best teams in the league.

Defensively the Bulls will be once again one of the best teams in the league as they have been since Coach Tom Thibodeau joined the team. Jimmy Butler’s breakthrough last season allows Chicago to have two elite perimeter defenders in Butler and Deng, who together with Hinrich and Noah make us quickly understand why the Bulls can defend so well even though they have Carlos Boozer on their starting lineup.

From Derrick Rose, there isn’t a lot to say but expecting that he can regain his best form. The organization didn’t put any pressure on him to return last season, so he could comeback only when he was at his best physical condition.

Jimmy Butler wasn’t noted at the start of the past season with just 22 minutes per game played over the first half of the season, but with Chicago suffering from so many injuries, Butler had more playing time later on the season and eventually played 33 minutes per game after the All Star. His importance on the playoffs was so vital that Coach Thibodeau used him for the whole 48 minutes in five of the team’s last seven playoff games! His defense is absolutely stellar, which complemented with Luol Deng allow the Bulls to have a top 3 backcourt defense in the league.

Carlos Boozer continues to receive negative reviews from everywhere on the Internet, with several writers demanding Chicago to use their amnesty clause on him. However, Boozer missed only three regular season games over the last two seasons and he was the team’s most consistent scorer with 47.7% FG, 16.2 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game. His problem has been his lack of consistency and his questionable effort on defense. This was quite visible on the Bulls’ playoffs series against Miami, especially on the last three games of the series, where he had two good offensive games with 10-19 and 10-16 FG performances, but an awful 3-14 FG in the game between these two great games. With Derrick Rose back in the lineup, Boozer won’t have so much pressure to score and this might be beneficial for him.

Joakim Noah consolidated himself last season as a top player by improving almost all of his numbers, with career highs in rebounds (11.1/game), points (11.9/game), assists (4.0/game), blocks (2.1/game) and steals (1.2/game). The fact that the Bulls don’t have a proper backup for him will demand an extra effort from Noah, something that had already happened last season with Noah being forced to play a career high 36.8 minutes per game. Taj Gibson will be the only serviceable frontcourt backup, so the Bulls will need to wait that their frontcourt avoids injuries in order to dominate their opponents on the glass.

The expectations are huge for the Bulls this season, but I believe that they will struggle in fulfilling such high expectations, as Derrick Rose would need to reach very high physical and confidence levels early on the season, while the Bulls’ bench continues being quite poor. Chicago will fight with Indiana for the first place in the Central Division and this specific fight looks to be quite interesting to follow throughout the season.

My name is André Gomes, I’m from Portugal and I am a Professional Handicapper. My sole purpose is to constantly beat the sportsbooks by taking advantage of the evaluation errors they make. It is most... Read more

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