The Chicago Bulls begin their 46th season in the NBA on Halloween. This team is very different than that of the last two years, having lost C.J Watson, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Omer Asik, John Lucas III and gained Kirk Hinrich, Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli and Nazr Mohammed. In addition, star point guard Derrick Rose is out until at least January with his torn ACL. Because of that, Chicago is one of the hardest teams to forecast in the NBA.
The Bulls face a great deal of adversity heading into this NBA season. As mentioned before, Derrick Rose will miss most of the regular season with his knee injury. In addition, Luol Deng is still hampered by a torn ligament in his left wrist. What that means is that every single player in the Bulls starting lineup is either injured, or has a propensity to get injured, and that includes new point guard Kirk Hinrich.
What we must remember though is that last season, Chicago had the top overall record in the NBA, despite missing Derrick Rose for 27 out of a possible 66 games. This team brings back the same starting lineup that won all those games, sans Derrick Rose. In addition, Richard Hamilton comes into the season healthy for the first time in years. Lastly, the addition of Nate Robinson cannot be overlooked. Robinson is perhaps the most dynamic bench player the Bulls have had since Ben Gordon. The “Bench Mob” is very different from last year, but Robinson could be one of the driving forces towards its continuing to be a success.
All in all, this team is virtually completely dependent on health, more than any other team in the NBA. If the Bulls can stay healthy until Derrick Rose returns, they could have a chance of jumping to a top 5 seed in the playoffs. If the team struggles with health all season and Rose does not return, they could easily miss the playoffs. I believe the team will finish somewhere in between. I predict perhaps the seventh seed in the East, behind Miami, Indiana, Boston, Brooklyn, New York and Philadelphia.
The final result of this season will rest completely on the knee of Derrick Rose. As mentioned before, Rose is expected to return perhaps at the All-Star break. We cannot expect Rose to be up to 100% at that point in the season. If we are lucky however, perhaps within a month, Rose can be up to 80%. If he can do that, and perhaps be up to 90% of his former glory by the playoffs, then what team can stop the Bulls in the playoffs outside of Miami? Without a doubt, the Bulls have an entertaining season ahead.