27 October 2010
So the season finally gets under way tonight. FINALLY. And I finally make my triumphant return to the blogosphere.
It was a long summer. A long and cruel summer...with the city being teased by the likes of LBJ to Dwyane Wade to Bosh to Carmelo Anthony. We came away solid. Yet, it's going to be a long fall as well. Our big catch, Carlos Boozer, is gone till December due to his "tripping over a gym bag on his way to answering the door" aka punching the wall and breaking his hand. The pain of the circus trip would have been quelmed by the presence of Boozer running alongside Joakim Noah and running the pick and roll with D-Rose. Alas, it wasn't meant to be. We will have to survive how we do every year...by winning like 2 games and grinding it out.
I watched the Bulls this preseason. They look good. Real good. Who stood out? Luol Deng. Every year he looks primed to have a breakout season, but seems to always fall short. Based on the preseason, he looks like a top 5 small forward. And he's draining the three with ease. And it looks like Thibs is trying to get him to break his HORRIBLE habit of shooting long 2's...of which the Bulls led the league in a year ago resulting in the worst shooting percentage in the NBA. I like seeing Deng slash and hit the three with consistency.
Rumors of Derrick Rose working on his long-range game seem to have been verified as well. He's trying to become a more versatile, rounded player and hitting the three from the point guard position will certainly allow him to do that. It seemed to be his only weakness last year, and if he can alleviate that, then he's probably the best point guard in the league.
Jo had a bout with the flu recently but he looked fantastic when he was in there.
Other than that, I like Keith Bogans in the starting lineup. Don't get me wrong...Brewer is a good player. He's young and athletic. But I'm confident that 25% of people reading this right now can shoot better. And he's a liiiiiiiiittle over-rated on the defensive end. I think Bogans is tough on D and he's a solid three-point shooter. Just a solid player overall and an under-rated vet. He's going to be big for the Bulls this season and quite an improvement over Flip Murray. And the fact that we have that much depth with Brewer coming off the bench is something we're all going to have to get used to, but it's an adjustment I'll be HAPPY to make.
That seems to be this team's strength. Depth. Derrick, Bogans, Deng, Boozer, and Noah as the starters. Taj backing up Booze and Noah. Asik and Kurt Thomas backing up Noah. Korver backing up Bogans and Deng. Brewer backing up Rose, Bogans, and Deng. CJ Watson backing up Rose and Bogans. Take a look at this depth chart:
Rose, Watson, Bogans, Brewer
Bogans, Brewer, Korver, Watson
Deng, Korver, Brewer, James Johnson
Boozer, Taj, Kurt Thomas, Scalabrine
Noah, Kurt Thomas, Asik
That's a lot of depth. Period. Injuries really hurt us last year. To the point where it cost us some serious playoff positioning and maybe 10 wins. This roster is built to prepare for something of that sort. And I like it. And Tom Thibodeau has a lot to work with here, both on the offensive and defensive ends. This team should win 50 games, even though it is being totally overlooked as a contender due to the star-studded top 3 teams in the Eastern Conference. But DO NOT count the Bulls out. They're young enough to outrun you and to not know that they're supposed to lose to you, but experienced enough to know how to win. Good combination.
As for tonight...we open up against the highly over-rated OKC Thunder. Durant is pretty much a unanimous pick to win MVP, although I don't see it. I think he's great and had a tremendous summer for Team USA...but stop trying to be trendy and picking him for the sake of picking him. LBJ and Wade are still in their primes, and Kobe should never be counted out...in fact he should be favorited until proven otherwise. And as for Russell Westbrook? Take a look at his face on this Rose dunk.
That says everything about the comparison of these two. As in...stop doing it.
I expect the Bulls to humble the highly touted Thunder tonight, even if the game is in OKC...and even without Boozer. This team is deep enough to get it done without him. Bulls win 98-95. It's gonna be a fun ride people. It always is. Welcome to 2010-2011.