A power shift is happening in Eastern Conference. The departure of LeBron James from Miami and Paul George’s injury will mean new faces will be atop the East Cleveland and Chicago will most likely be the two teams fighting for home-court advantage.
Chicago has some new faces and one important one returning from two injuries, Derrick Rose. Pau Gasol, Aaron Brooks and European star Nijola Mirotic will be making their Chicago debuts this season. The Brooks signing was sneaky good, since Rose will definitely need to rest his knees at times.
The Bulls exceeded expectations after Rose went down with another knee injury last season. Joakim Noah put the team on his back and put up insane numbers. Can he repeat last year’s MVP-worthy performance?
We will be posting a team preview for every team up until the start of the regular season.
Here is the 2014-15 NBA season preview for the Chicago Bulls.
2013-14 Win/Loss Record: 48-34
Key Additions: PF Pau Gasol, PF Nikola Mirotic, SF Doug McDermott, PG Aaron Brooks, PF Cameron Bairstow, SG Kim English, SG E’Twaun Moore, PF Solomon Jones & PG Ben Hansbrough
Key Losses: PF Carlos Boozer & PG D.J. Augustin
Projected Starters: Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, Mike Dunleavy, Jimmy Butler & Derrick Rose
Fantasy Sleeper: PF Nikola Mirotic – Mirotic is technically Chicago’s third power forward, but he could play small forward as well. He has a nice outside shot. Chicago could easily play big and still defend effectively. I would only use a late-round pick on Mirotic. He’s worth a flyer. Also, another Chicago player on my sleeper radar is Tony Snell. He’s more of a deep sleeper, but he can put up points in a hurry if he’s hot. Keep an eye on him as well.
Team Analysis: With one man’s decision, Chicago’s 2014-15 season could have gone in two different directions. If the Bulls landed Kevin Love, their season would have been anchored with lofty expectations…but Love decided to go play with LeBron, so Chicago didn’t need to gut their team for one player. They were able to sign Pau Gasol, keep both Mirotic and McDermott and acquire a skilled backup point guard. They go into this season without the crazy expectations and in my opinion, they are better off without Love.
The Bulls looked like they were going to gut the team and rebuild once Derrick Rose suffered a second knee injury. They traded Luol Deng and were thought to just be playing out the season with no real goals. No one realized that Joakim Noah would turn into Godzilla. He was distributing the ball, rebounding, blocking and even scoring for the Bulls. He was the most valuable player to their team in the NBA.
Cleveland might have LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, but it will take them awhile to learn how to play as a team. Chicago plays defense and already have team chemistry. The Bulls will battle Cleveland for the #1 seed in the East all season.
2014-15 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 55.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2014-15 Projected Win/Loss Record: 56-26 (2nd in Eastern Conference)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.