2009-10 Chicago Bulls Season Preview
The Chicago Bulls (41- 41) captured second-place in the Central Division and managed to make it into the 2008- 2009 postseason. Their fortunes were helped by the fact that after the 2007- 2008 season, the club given the first pick overall in the NBA Draft. They chose point guard Derrick Rose (16.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 6.3 APG), and he proved to be a welcomed addition to the Chicago roster after the team went 33- 49 the year before. The eight-game improvement this past year was impressive. This year, the team traded shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha for a 2009 first round pick. They got former USC forward Taj Gibson. Other massive trades involving five Bulls and netting three new guys and a shake-up in the front office all point to a club that’s trying to improve. However, while something has been gained, something has also been lost.
For the frontcourt to be effective, five-year forward Luol Deng (14.1 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.9 APG), who missed almost half of last season with a stress fracture, will have to stay healthy. It’s hoped that he can reach former averages of almost 19 PPG and 7 RPG. Forwards Tyrus Thomas (10.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.0 APG) and Joakim Noah (6.7 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.3 APG) ably scored points but were weak grabbing rebounds. The Bulls were 28th in defensive rebounding. Center Brad Miller (11.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 3.3 APG), an 11-year vet, offers solid play. Still, last season this team gave opponents too many second shots.
The backcourt includes guard/forward John Salmons (18.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 3.2 APG). This season, Salmons looks to primarily function as a shooting guard. Last season, he hit 47% from the field and 42% from the three-point arc. He’ll be needed since the team’s former primary shooting guard, Ben Gordon, is now with the Pistons. In his first season, point man Derrick Rose (16.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 6.3 APG) showed promise. It’s hoped that he can continue to make strides in his second NBA season. Guard Jannero Pargo, who played in Europe last season, has been added to the roster. Pargo, who has an accurate three-point shot, should be able to put points on the board.
The best thing the Bulls have going for them is their perimeter shooting. Three sharpshooters, Rose, Salmons and Deng, are deadly from outside. Add Pargo to the mix and you’ve got a quartet that can create numerous mismatches and opportunities in the backcourt. However, the frontcourt offense looks to be sketchy and that will certainly hurt this team. High percentage, inside shots are not this team’s strong point.
Coach Vinny Del Negro has a mix of players with which to work. Two big questions: how much will Rose improve in his second season and can Del Negro utilize the right combinations of players on the court? With Gordon gone there’s concern regarding scoring and with so many new guys there’s question marks about when this team will gel.
This year could go either way for Chicago. Next year, the team sees a whole lot of salary cap cash open up. That will certainly help them create a better team. That means that the 2009- 2010 season will be one of transition. The Bulls will most likely post a losing record this year, finishing third in the Central Division and missing the playoffs.