By Angie Wiatrowski
Last Year’s Record: 41-41
Key Losses: Vinny Del Negro, Kirk Hinrich, Brad Miller, Hakim Warrick, Tyrus Thomas
Key Additions: Tom Thibodeau, Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, C.J. Watson, Omer Asik, Keith Bogans
1.What significant moves were made during the off-season?
Everyone knows there were far too many teams fighting for Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh who came up short. The Bulls, however, had a backup plan. Already having Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, they decided to work around their assets and the Bulls grabbed one of the most reliable power forwards, Carlos Boozer. Boozer is an ideal partner for Rose, taking plenty of scoring pressure off Rose since he averaged 20 points per game in the last four years.
2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?
There is plenty of potential in Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. Boozer will get you 19 and 12 boards per game while Noah will get you 12 and 12 boards per game. They cancel each other out in that Noah provides the defensive presence with Boozer providing the offense presence, taking a lot of pressure off each other.
Both Luol Deng and Joakim Noah were the two best rebounders on the team last season. Now they have added Carlos Boozer while Taj Gibson has greatly improved his rebounding over the past year. We can also take Kurt Thomas into consideration and Omer Asik, if he gets playing time, for some solid rebounding.
The Bulls have some work to do on the defensive end, but they’ll get there soon. Luol Deng, Kurt Thomas, and Omer Asik will be good defenders for the Bulls, but let’s not forget about Ronnie Brewer. Brewer doesn’t gamble as much and is good at defending the passing lane
New head coach Tom Thibodeau will help with defense as well, as he has served as an assistant with seven teams over 18 NBA seasons, finishing in the top-10 defensively 15 times. If the Bulls’ defenders mesh well and can stay healthy, the Bulls could be a top defensive unit.
3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?
The Bulls will have a problem with their lack of a true starting-quality shooting guard. Considering they finished 23rd in the league in field goal percentage (45.1) and 28th in three-point field goal percentage (33), you’d think they would want a bigger upgrade in that position. While Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, and Keith Bogans are solid players, they are not players that would start for most NBA teams.
Bogans and Korver will help with the three-point issues, and Brewer may start, but for how long? There isn’t really a complete package in this case and it could pose a problem for the Bulls.
4. What are the goals for this team?
It’s all about chemistry. The Bulls have completely renovated their roster and are trying to establish a new identity. They need their dynamic duos to mesh well in order to be successful, and need to stay healthy. They could be one of the best defensive units in the league and obviously their goal is to make a run in the playoffs.
5 It’s Tom Time.
Of course we cannot forget about Vinny Del Negro’s replacement, Tom Thibodeau. This is his time to shine and do what he wants with his own squad.
Thibodeau has surrounded himself with the organization’s veterans in his coaching staff and his 20-year veteran status will be key assets for the Bulls.
After years of being an understudy, Thibodeau has formed an idea of what he’d like to do with his own team. As far as the Bulls reserves and role players, they are pretty much tailor-made for Thibodeau. Mature, defensive-minded veterans like Kurt Thomas and Keith Bogans, and young, active bodies like Taj Gibson and Ronnie Brewer amongst other factors make it clear the Bulls are a very well-rounded team.
While Thibodeau is known for his defensive strategy, he will have plenty of fresh ideas as to how to work the offense. He has also been observing his new payers by constantly watching tape and getting a feel for their strengths and weaknesses and what he can do to establish that new identity and take it to the next level.