2010-11 Season Preview: Chicago Bulls

Overview

The Bulls roster underwent a lot of changes the summer, and head into this season with eight new players. Still, on a line-by-line basis, the Bulls are stronger in nearly every aspect, and they still have one of the most dynamic cores of any team in the East. With the additions of Boozer, Korver, Brewer and C.J. Watson, the Bulls may prove to be one of the deepest teams in the conference.

Roster

Name Pos Yrs 2009-10 Stats
Omer Asik* C-F R
Keith Bogans* G-F 7 4.4 PPG, 3.0 RPG
Carlos Boozer* F 8 19.5 PPG, 11.2 RPG
Ronnie Brewer* G 4 8.8 PPG, 2.7 APG
Luol Deng F 6 17.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG
Taj Gibson F 1 9.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG
James Johnson F 1 3.9 PPG, 2.0 RPG
Kyle Korver* G-F 7 7.2 PPG, .536 3P%**
Joakim Noah C-F 3 10.7 PPG, 11.0 RPG
Derrick Rose G 2 20.8 PPG, 6.0 APG
Brian Scalabrine* F 9 1.5 PPG, 0.9 RPG
Kurt Thomas* F 4 3.0 PPG, 4.2 RPG
C.J. Watson* G 3 10.3 PPG, 2.8 APG

* New to team
** NBA Record

Head Coach: Tom Thibodeau
Assistant Coaches: Ron Adams, Rick Brunson, Andy Greer, Adrian Griffin, Ed Pinckney

Meaningful Offseason Moves

  • Traded Kirk Hinrich (along with the 17th pick and money) to Washington for Vladimir Veeremenko
  • Released coach Vinnie Del Negro
  • Hired coach Tom Thibodeau
  • Signed Carlos Boozer for 5-years, $75 million
  • Signed Kyle Korver for 3-years, $15 million
  • Put J.J. Reddick to a 3-year, $20 million offer sheet (Magic matched this sheet and retained Reddick)
  • Signed Ronnie Brewer for 3-years, $12.5 million
  • Sign and Traded Hakim Warrick to Phoenix for a 2011 second round pick
  • Released Brad Miller
  • Signed Omer Asik for 3-years, $4 million
  • Traded second-round pick to Golden State for C.J. Watson
  • Signed Kurt Thomas for 1-year, $1.8 million
  • Signed Keith Bogans for 2-years, $3.2 million
  • Signed Brian Scalabrine for 1-year, veteran’s minimum
  • Signed Quentin Richardson for 4-years, $10 million
  • Matched Chicago’s 3-year, $20 million offer sheet, kept J.J. Redick
  • Drafted Daniel Orton and Stanley Robinson

Why the Bulls are Contenders

Bulls fans who wanted a fresh start after a disappointing first round departure last season will get their wish. They’ll also get to enjoy said fresh start with the same core of Rose, Noah, Deng and Gibson that were really the only bright points of the previous year.

Last year’s Bulls ended 41-41 and made the playoffs, which was a bit of an unexpected result after starting 7-13 and suffering through 10-game losing streak from Feb 27th through Mar 19th. Said losing streak was so ugly that it seemed inevitable that the front office would dismiss Coach Del Negro at the end of the year (really, he was lucky to get that far), and that most of the roster would be released.

At the end of the season, the Bulls ended with a team average of 97.5 PPG (24th of 30), while  allowing 99.1 PPG (13th of 30). This from a squad that features an All-Star PG in Rose who averaged 20.8 PPG and 6.0 APG and a pair of solid forwards in Deng and Noah who combined for 28.3 PPG and 18.3 RPG.

On the Eve of the NBA Finals, then Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau interviewed for the head coaching job, a role that many NBA insiders, including Doc Rivers, felt was a great fit. Thibodeau has been credited for playing a big part in developing the Celtics as a team and building players up when needed.

As you probably remember, the Bulls got into the LeBron sweepstakes, but smartly keep their eyes on several other players that could come in and help them right away.

(This is when I put on my Jazz hat)

When LeBron fell through, the Bulls managed the free agent market as well as any other team not based in Miami. Say what you will about Carlos Boozer, but he, Korver and Brewer spent several years developing their basketball IQ at the alter of Sloan. They are smart, effective basketballers, and the prospect of them playing with Rose and Noah is intimidating.

Korver is coming off a season wherein he posted an NBA record for greatest three point percentage in a season, and there may not be a better low-ego 2-guard to compliment Derrick Rose than Ronnie Brewer. He doesn’t make a lot of headlines, but he plays hard, takes pride in his defense, and finds the open lane to the basket incredibly well.

I’m realizing right now that I kind of miss him a little.

Once Boozer is healthy, he’s going to go hard. Boozer longed for a contending team that would allow him to break out of the traditional PF role and play more of a high low-ish flexing forward. That probably is exactly what the Bulls have in mind for him as it allows Noah to stay closer to the Center position and bang around inside for the rebounds and put backs (something Boozer didn’t do with reckless abandon while stationed in Salt Lake).

Boozer, Brewer and Korver all afford Thibodeau the kind of flexibility that you saw (and still see) in Boston. Don’t be surprised to the see the Bulls running a flex offense that allows Rose to generate the offense on the fly based on who is on the floor and where the mismatches are.

The Heat are going to be the high flying squad in the East, the Magic is going to be the Center-centric force.

In my opinion, the Bulls – much like the Jazz in the West – *could* become the thinking man’s team in the East. I’m not sure if that’ll be enough to outsmart the Celtics or the Heat, but it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.

Video

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~ by djepperson on October 25, 2010.

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