2008-2009 Chicago Bulls Season Preview
2008 Chicago Bulls preview from MadduxSports.com. Maddux Sports the premier professional handicappers also offers winning NBA Picks daily to our visitors.
The Central Division Chicago Bulls (33-49) were expected to do better than they did last season. The year before they won 49 games. But last season, they had a tough time scoring and after a 9- 16 start last season coach Scott Skiles lost his job. Bull’s GM John Paxson had assistant Jim Boylan run the team but no improvement was seen. Overall, the team stayed healthy throughout the season so there were no excuses there. The year prior shooting guard Ben Gordon and point man Kirk Hinrich played beyond what was expected. With the bar raised, they just didn’t deliver in 2007-2008. Ben Wallace, who came in as a free agent, was ineffective and Luol Deng, who was the only player injured for some time missing 19 games, was distracted by his lack of a contract extension.
They Bulls were rated 26th on offense. They were last in field goal and two-point shooting. They couldn’t work the ball into the basket and that meant that they had to take too many 18-foot jump shots. Their defense slumped. The season before, they led the league in defensive efficiency; in 2007-2008 they were simply mediocre. Paxson traded Wallace, Joe Smith and Adrian Griffin mid-season for Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons and Shannon Brown. But that didn’t help.
This season, the Bulls will be coached by rookie Vinny Del Negro. He played guard in the NBA and has been a radio commentator, but he has no NBA coaching experience. He has brought in two experienced guys to assists—Del Harris and Berne Bickerstaff. Both are former head coaches. Rookie guard Derrick Rose joins the team and forward Luol Deng has been offered a lucrative extension.
The frontcourt sees mid-year trade Drew Gooden return at power forward. Gooden should provide some much needed inside scoring. Last year, he averaged 12.0 PPG and 8.6 RPG. Small forward Luol Deng is a versatile athlete. Last year’s averaging of 17.0 PPG and 6.3 RPG were lower than expected. Look for him to be back on his game. The rest of the guys in the paint are fairly inexperienced. Still, there is depth. Second-year forward/center Joakim Noah and third-year forward Tyrus Thomas will offer quality minutes. Andres Nicioni is a scoring threat; last season he played an average of 24.6 MPG while scoring 13.2 PPG.
The backcourt desperately needs a leader and the Bulls are hoping they’ve found him by drafting Derrick Rose. But it will take time for him to develop the NBA skills and maturity needed to man the point. Hinrich (6.0 APG) will get the nod there. He can also play the shooting spot. Gordon and third-year player Thabo Sefolosha add depth to the two spot.
Rookie coach Del Negro needs to make this team a cohesive unit, utilizing its talent and depth. Team chemistry, individual focus and gritty play are all needed for Chicago to make the post-season. A third-place finish does not get them into the playoffs. If they don’t start scoring, it will be tough for this club to do much better than they did last season.