Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chicago Bulls an Elite Team?

The Chicago Bulls have been playing some good basketball the past few weeks. After a tough start that was a result of one of the toughest schedules in the league, they have taken off and have built a 5 game lead in the central. With a 16-8 record they have the third best record in the eastern conference and broke their losing steak against the Lakers. So the question remains, are the Bulls an Elite Team? They have proved that they are a really good team, but are they a team that can go to the NBA Finals? I think so, and many NBA experts are beginning to think similarly. The Bulls have built a team that complements each other well, they have perimeter shooters, slashers, low post scoring, great rebounders and defensive specialists. Lets take an in depth look at the Bulls roster to see their strengths and weaknesses.

PG- Derrick Rose
     - C.J. Watson
Derrick Rose has morphed into one of the best point guards in the league and arguably one of the best players in the game today. Before this season he had been primarily a slasher, but in the offseason he developed an excellent 3-point shot. This allows him to put up much higher point totals and opens up shots for other players on his team. We've also seen his assists totals go up as his supporting cast is the best he's had in his career. But his value is not all in his statistics, he has become the undisputed leader of this team which he had trouble becoming in his first 2 years. D-Rose is hard not to love because he is a Chicago kid who is extremely humble and cares more about winning than stats, and now is in the MVP conversation and likely will for years to come. And his backup C.J. Watson is not bad either, he is a scoring point guard who can effectively lead the team when D-Rose is not in the game. In the game in Denver that Rose missed Watson put up 33 points and really showed that the Bulls have some depth at the Point.

SG- Keith Bogans
     -Kyle Korver
     -Ronnie Brewer
While Bogans may be the "Starter", both Korver and Brewer see more minutes. Korver can play both the SG and SF and is known to be deadly from beyond the arc. With the addition of Korver and Rose's improved jump shot the Bulls have developed into a good shooting team to pair with their good post game. Brewer is more of a defensive specialist and a slasher as an old wrist injury prevents him from being an effective shooter. Bogans is more of a seasoned veteran who can hit shots when you need him too, but does not do much in terms of scoring. I think this is an area that the Bulls are looking to improve and have heard rumors of the Bulls wanting to trade for JR Smith. With the addition of a legit starting 2 guard the Bulls would have a complete roster but the tandem of Korver and Brewer is still pretty good.

SF- Luol Deng
    - James Johnson
Deng is the last player from the Baby Bulls team that beat the then defending champion Miami Heat in the first round of the 06-07 playoffs that is still on the team. Deng is a great complementary player who doesn't take over games but is consistent and has developed a great stroke from beyond the arc. Deng is very versatile who can shoot from the perimeter, can slash to the rim and is a solid rebounder. Injuries can be a concern for Deng but he has looked healthy this season and should be a part of this Bulls team for a while. James Johnson doesn't see a lot of playing time but he does have some undeniable physical abilities. But Johnson really hasn't made a major impact at this level yet and i wouldn't be surprised to see him get packaged in a deal to get a SG or a big man to replace the injured Joakim Noah.

PF- Carlos Boozer
     - Taj Gibson
     - Brian Scalibrine
Boozer was the big offseason acquisition that the Bulls made, bringing in an elite low post scorer. He missed the first few weeks but has finally gotten in a rhythm and had a dominating performance against the Raptors last night scoring 34 points with 12 boards. He adds yet another dynamic to the Bulls game as he is an elite low post scorer who can run the pick and roll and the Pick and pop with D-Rose. He also provides a big rebounding presence with Joakim Noah. He is an experienced player who has been to the postseason many times and will provide some good veteran leadership. Taj Gibson is an excellent reserve behind Boozer who was putting up similar numbers while Booz was injured. Taj is another player that might appeal to teams in a trade although he is valuable as a backup because of Boozers injury history. Brian Scalibrine doesnt see major minutes but is another veteran with some experience.

C- Joakim Noah
   - Omar Asik
   - Kurt Thomas
While im writing this Joakim Noah is having surgery on his hand and will miss 8-10 weeks but he will play again this season. The loss of Noah is going to hurt as he is the teams top rebounder and provides excellent defense and heart. Noah is a very passionate player who is arguably the heart and soul of this team along with D-Rose. He may also be the most controversial as he does talk a lot of trash and loves to party but he is an excellent basketball player. While Noah is out we will likley see more Taj Gibson but we will also get to look at Omar Asik. The 7-0 man from Turkey has shown some potential and with his size should provide some solid rebounding. The only problem is that he is pretty inexpierenced so we will likely see a lot more of Kurt Thomas as well. He may not provide a  lot in terms of scoring but should be another big body that can get some rebounds. The loss of Noah will hurt the Bulls post game some but they should still be solid with Taj and Booz.

So we see the Bulls have a combination of different talents, you have the superstar in D-Rose, the sharpshooter in Kyle Korver, the do it all complimentary player in Luol Deng, the low post scorer in Boozer and the passionate defensive center in Joakim Noah. They are definitely in the discussion as one of the best teams in the league and should make it out of the first round. Head Coach Tom Thibodeau has made this arguably the best defensive team in the league and is a great motivator and never lets his players take a game off. The Bulls are in the process of building a new dynasty and it wouldn't be surprising to see them get some more championships in the near future.

1 comment:

  1. The question is though... Can they get by the other stacked East teams come playoff time? I smell a great debate here... Podcast soon! -Erp