The Chicago Bulls had one of the best playoff series ever against the Boston Celtics last year. Unfortunately for fans, it was in the first round, but the level of play in that series was only equaled by the NBA Finals. Derrick Rose had a great rookie season and a late-season trade with the Kings was the best trade deadline transaction last year. Will the Bulls miss Ben Gordon? Can Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah finally develop? Here is our 2009-10 NBA Preview for the Chicago Bulls.
Additions/Subtractions – I’m not going to say that the Chicago Bulls will not miss Ben Gordon, but he wasn’t a starter on Chicago. He may have played starter minutes as the sixth-man, but he was very inconsistent. When they made the trade with the Kings last year to acquire John Salmons, he was their insurance policy if Gordon left in the off-season. This team shouldn’t look that different from the team that lost against the Celtics in the first-round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Jannero Pargo is with the team again after being with the Hornets the last two seasons, they signed the often banged-up Jerome James, and they have two very good draft picks. James Johnson will be a work in progress with a very high upside and Taj Gibson could be more NBA-ready. They expect big things from these guys and they should be starters in a couple years.
2009-10 Expectations – NBA teams aren’t supposed to have playoff seasons with a new coach and rookie point guard, but Chicago did that. They set the bar high for this season with the great playoff series against the Celtics last year and the emergence of Derrick Rose as a NBA superstar. The expectations for this team is very high and anything less than a playoff appearance would be disappointing. They have to get to the 2nd round for this team to feel good about the season. Derrick Rose had an injury and will start the season a little banged up, but the Bulls will be a very fun team to watch. They have players that can fun the fast break and with Brad Miller, a true low-post center. Chicago wants Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas to take it to the next level and live up to their high draft pick status. Thomas was rough when the Bulls drafted him and has had moments of looking like a future star, but he isn’t consistent. Noah has developed into a good rebounder, but his offensive game hasn’t improved very much.
2009-10 Prediction – This team is full of winnners at the collegiate level. Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, and Tyrus Thomas all were on winners in college and sometimes that’s all a team needs, players who know how to win. I believe Chicago has the ability to win close games. Derrick Rose and John Salmons will be All-Stars this season. Chicago could use some more depth at small forward, if can get a deal for a nice back-up SF near the trade deadline, they should jump at that. The Bulls will start off slow, but as they usually go, turn it up in the 2nd-half of the season and get into the playoffs. I don’t see a huge jump in their win total, but they should end up as the #5 or #6 seed and hopefully avoid the Boston Celtics in the first-round of the playoffs.
2009-10 Win Total – 46-36