As the NBA is getting ready to rear it’s beautiful face from it’s usual summer hiding place, it’s time to start taking a look at what were going to be watching this year as Bull’s fans.
Obviously, the big story this year, is how last season ended. Most of this season will be played without our superstar, Derrick Rose. Although his doctors say he’s rehabbing ahead of schedule from his ACL injury, we still shouldn’t expect to see him until after the All-Star break.
That means for the first half of the season, the Bulls will be treading water. But with news of Luol Deng opting out of wrist surgery, that may not be as hard as originally once thought. However, don’t expect them to put up a regular season best record for a third consecutive season.
Many other teams in the Eastern Conference have really upped their roster this off season. With such moves as Joe Johnson going to Brooklyn, Ray Allen to the Heat and Jason Kidd to the Knicks, the Eastern Conference will be a different playground for the Bulls. Especially since their roster updates were as exciting as a new Twilight movie coming out.
So, who’d they lose?
- Kyle Korver went to the Atlanta Hawks
- Ronnie Brewer went to the New York Knicks
- CJ Watson went to the Brooklyn Nets
- Omer Asik went to the Houston Rockets
- John Lucas III went to the Toronto Raptors
You’re probably asking yourself right now : “But Kyle, isn’t that most of our bench, which was considered by many to be a very strong part of our team?!”
The answer is yes. The Bulls are going for a new look Bench Mob this year. But first, let’s just take a look at all their off season acquisitions:
- Marco Belinelli – Shooting guard. Averaged 11.8 points per game in 29.8 minutes per game played last season with the New Orleans Hornets.
- Kirk Hinrich – Combo guard. Averaged 6.6 points and 2.8 assists per game in 25.8 minutes per game played last season with the Atlanta Hawks.
- Nazr Mohammed – Center. Averaged 2.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game in 11 minutes per game played last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
- Vladimir Radmanovic – Power forward (3-point specialist). Averaged 4.5 points per game and 37% 3-point field goal percentage in 15.4 minutes per game played last season with the Atlanta Hawks.
- Nate Robinson – Point guard. Averaged 11.2 points and 4.5 assists per game in 23.4 minutes per game played last season with the Golden State Warriors.
- Marquis Teague – Point guard. Drafted from Kentucky.
Belinelli is actually a huge upgrade over Ronnie Brewer offensively, but it’s Brewer’s defense the Bulls will miss the most. If Thibs can get Belinelli playing decent to good defense, it will be a roster upgrade.
When it comes to comparing Kirk Hinrich to CJ Watson, you don’t necessarily compare statistics. Captain Kirk provides that “floor leader” presence that Derrick usually provides. With Rose out last year, no one really seemed to do that. Hinrich also provides a way higher basketball IQ over Watson.
Omer Asik wasn’t expendable, however the Bulls weren’t able to keep him on board for $25.1 million dollars, even though that was Gar Forman’s number one priority going into the off season. Nazr Mohammed is definitely a downgrade at the bench center spot, but that only means one thing : there’s room for improvement!
It’s no secret that Kyle Korver is one of the better three point specialists in all of the NBA. And it’s no secret that Radmanovic is just okay at it. Maybe even a little less than okay at it. Korver’s threes are something the Bulls will miss.
Nate Robinson and John Lucas are both undersized guards. Robinson plays pretty good defense and he’s going to come off the bench and score for you. He also has good court vision and ball control. He’s what you want in a bench point guard. And after Marquis Teague’s less than awesome performance in the Summer League, it makes this pick-up even better.
Nothing there stands out as an outstanding transaction, nor did the Bulls acquire anything big. At all. It was not a very good off-season compared to seasons past, to say the least. If they feel like they can make something good happen with these new players, then more power to them.
Come opening day, this is what the Chicago Bulls starting lineup SHOULD look like:
- Joakim Noah – Center
- Carlos Boozer – Power Forward
- Luol Deng – Small Forward
- Richard Hamilton – Shooting Guard
- Kirk Hinrich – Point Guard
And the complete bench roster is:
- Nazr Mohammed – Center
- Vladimir Radmanovic – Forward
- Taj Gibson – Forward
- Jimmy Butler – Guard (Currently listed as a Guard, but played Forward last season)
- Marco Belinelli – Guard
- Nate Robinson – Guard
- Marquis Teague – Guard
So, the starting lineup remains the same from last season, with the exception of Hinrich in for Rose. The bench has been completely revamped aside for Taj Gibson (who is going to play like a serious ‘Sixth Man of the Year’ player this season) and Jimmy Butler (who will be playing a lot more).
Are we excited? Disappointed? I’m leaning towards disappointed. What are your thoughts?