The long-awaited return is finally here. D-Rose puts back on that Chicago uniform and takes the city in his hands. As Rose took more than enough time to settle and looked sharp in the preseason, he’s expected to be back to the MVP-type Derrick Rose. The team, the city, and everyone is happy…except for maybe the Heat and the Pacers and the Nets. I present to you the Chicago Bulls 2013-14 season preview:
Guards (A): Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Marquis Teague, Kirk Hinrich, Mike James
Derrick Rose was hungry to win MVP of the league in the 2010-11 season. He got that accomplished with fearless play and hours spent in the gym. Rose may be even hungrier to prove he is still the best guard in the NBA because many are now in doubt of that. Since his painfully long injury, other guards such as Westbrook, Paul, Parker, and Harden have gained more recognition on the court. Rose wants to go out there and prove he’s still better than all those guys. I believe Rose will come back and be a better team leader than he was before because of all the time he had to sit and think. That long injury was part of his growing and maturing process in his NBA career. Jimmy Butler has earned his spot as shooting guard as he perfectly fits Chicago’s punishing defensive identity. Hinrich and Teague also in the mix, I see this backcourt being back near the top.
Forwards (A-): Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy, Taj Gibson, Tony Snell
Chicago has the same starting forward duo but has significantly improved its depth with the addition of Snell and Dunleavy, as well as one more year of experience for Taj Gibson. Deng and Boozer won’t amaze you but they efficiently get the job done. Deng has clearly established himself as an all-star small forward with many abilities on the court. He’s a great defender, a very efficient outside shooter, and knowledgable player. Boozer isn’t what he once was but as long as he sticks around 16 points and 8 rebounds per game, he should benefit the lineup just fine. Even with Boozer aging and being inconsistent at times, Chicago has a dependable future power forward in the aggressive Taj Gibson. Mike Dunleavy was a highly-regarded signing as defenses have to stay up on him with his top-notch three-point shooting.
Centers (A-): Joakim Noah, Nazr Mohammed, Erik Murphy
Joakim Noah is an absolute beast. It makes sense his idol is Dennis Rodman because his game exhibits Rodman’s. Noah is always in contention for Defensive Player of the Year. He never takes a day off and serves as the outstanding competitor this team could not survive without. I don’t know about you guys, but I think Nazr Mohammed made something of his career when he shoved LeBron James to the ground in the playoffs. I know he got ejected, but you have to understand where he came from in protecting his team as this Miami-Chicago rivalry is quite fierce.
Defense (A): Tom Thibodeau’s defense is just outstanding every single year. As long as he’s the head coach, I’m pretty sure that isn’t changing. Without looking at any stats, Chicago may be the most consistent defensive team in the last five years. They always rank high in opponent points in the paint per game as well as overall defensive efficiency. The emergence of solid defender Jimmy Butler last year only helps their cause.
Shooting (B+): You need to be able to shoot to win the championship. Chicago recognized that and signed sharp-shooting veteran Mike Dunleavy. When you have a player like Rose who makes the entire defense focus on him, shooters like Dunleavy are really valuable. Deng’s shot has been highly efficient the last couple years. Boozer, Gibson, and Noah are all comfortable letting it go from 12-14 feet as well.
Experience (A-): Since drafting Rose in 2008, Chicago has grown into one of the most experienced and high chemistry teams in the league.
Standing – 3rd East (NOTE: they may not be 3rd seed because of the division rule but they’ll have the third best record and home court advantage over “3rd seed” Brooklyn.)
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