Culture of Hoops

2013-14 NBA Season Preview: Chicago Bulls

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Most Important Player: Derrick Rose
Rose is the cornerstone of the franchise. How he returns from injury will decide whether the Chicago Bulls are legitimate contenders for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

X-Factor: Carlos Boozer
Boozer and his production on the offensive side of the court can put the Bulls in winning situations, but his defense can put them in losing ones.

Rotations: The elite starting five of Rose, Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng, Boozer and Joakim Noah is as good as any. A bench consisting of Kirk Hinrich, Marquis Teague, newly acquired sharpshooter Mike Dunleavy, Taj Gibson and Nazr Mohammed will hopefully keep the leads given to them. The rookies, Tony Snell and Erik Murphy, may even be sprinkled into the second unit rotation to add perimeter shooting and shoulder some valuable minutes. The defense-focused lineup of Rose, Butler, Deng, Gibson and Noah is simply scary. Rose, Butler and Deng all have the ability to score 20 or more points in a game and are the team’s best defenders. Hinrich is no slouch either on the defensive side and can play both guard spots. Marquis Teague will be taking on and leading the energy unit of himself, Butler, Dunleavy, Gibson and Noah. Teague will be leaned upon to produce some extra scoring from the bench this year.

What Needs to Go Right: The chemistry of the Bulls will hopefully be just as good as the years before Rose’s ACL tear. Rose needs to regain his MVP form, Butler needs to continue to develop, and Boozer needs to not disappear at critical moments.

It’s Really Bad If: The injury bug hits this team like it has the previous two years. The team was completely depleted in last season’s playoffs yet still extremely competitive against the eventual NBA champions. It is also really bad if Rose only returns as a shell of his former self, which would ultimately set the franchise back a few years.

Bold Prediction: Rose leads his team with a vengeance and gets to the NBA Finals, marking the start of a new dynasty in the league.


Carlos Boozer, PF
Strengths: Interior scoring, strong rebounder.
Weaknesses: Watching him play defense will make the viewer physically ill, can disappear at times.
Season Prediction: Boozer will post solid numbers all around, but fans will ultimately still loathe him for his lackluster performances and huge contract.

Jimmy Butler, SG/SF
Strengths: A young, elite defender who can drive to the hole and finish.
Weaknesses: Inexperience.
Season Prediction: Butler will become the shooting guard that the Bulls have been looking for to pair with D-Rose. Expect a lot of alley-oops and a Most Improved Player Award.

Luol Deng, SF
Strengths: Elite defense, hard worker, consistent scorer.
Weaknesses: Creating his own shot, injury prone.
Season Prediction: Luol Deng will be Luol Deng.
Mike Dunleavy, SG/SF
Strengths: Three-point shooting, length, basketball IQ and solid defense.
Weaknesses: Limited athleticism, not a shot creator.
Season Prediction: Will make Stacey King say “Pass me the hot sauce” way too many times.

Taj Gibson, PF
Strengths: Defense, athleticism, emphatic dunks and blocks.
Weaknesses: Scoring is not on the level of Boozer.
Season Prediction: Gibson will return to his 2011 form and show he is worth his contract extension after a somewhat disappointing 2012-13 season.

Kirk Hinrich, PG
Strengths: Great passer, top defender, versatile, makes smart decisions.
Weaknesses: Injury prone, not adept at getting his own shot.
Season Prediction: Will lead the newest version of the “Bench Mob” to prominence and further help the development of Derrick Rose.

Nazr Mohammed, C
Strengths: Not afraid to put LeBron James in his place (on the ground) and a solid veteran backup center to eat minutes.
Weaknesses: Very slow, not a dependable scorer.
Season Prediction: Nazr will push LeBron once again, but this time LBJ will flop all the way to the locker room.

Erik Murphy, PF
Strengths: A tall stretch 4 who can knock down the three-pointer with ease.
Weaknesses: Defense, rebounding.
Season Prediction: Might be riding the bench the entire year unless Tom Thibodeau changes his offensive philosophy and his stance on playing rookies who do not play defense.

Joakim Noah, C
Strengths: Heart and soul of the defense, rebounding machine, tremendous passer.
Weaknesses: Can’t score one-on-one, ugly tornado jump shot.
Season Prediction: Noah will be in contention for the Defensive Player of the Year Award and might even show off a few new post moves.

Derrick Rose, PG
Strengths: MVP talent, amazing scorer, underrated defender and passer, and the floor general for the Bulls.
Weaknesses: Long-range jump-shooting and a year away from the game because of a torn ACL.
Season Prediction: Rose will return to his MVP form and challenge LeBron James for the award.

Tony Snell, SF
Strengths: Long, a solid defender, can provide outside shooting and create his own shot.
Weaknesses: Inexperience.
Season Prediction: Snell will be seeing the bench a lot early in the season barring injuries, but may also break into the rotation if his hard work continues.

Marquis Teague, PG
Strengths: Lightning fast, has the potential to be a top-tier defender in the NBA.
Weaknesses: Turnover prone, makes poor decisions.
Season Prediction: Teague will fill in as the third point guard, provide some solid minutes, and put up a few points a game by driving to the hole. But do not expect a Jimmy Butler-like jump in development.

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