Many Chicago fans believe this season to be a bust based solely on the fact that superstar point guard Derrick Rose is injured and won’t make his return until late February or early March.
Fans believe that they there is nobody that can effectively lead this team as well as provide the night in and night out performances that Rose was capable of.
While this may be true, all hope is not lost, yes this season may be a struggle for Chicago, this season could tear this team down from atop the Eastern Conference standings and it could lead to turmoil on and off the court.
Or, this season could bring a new story line to Chicago, this season the players will have to shift roles in order to develop a new game in hopes of finding the pieces that can produce as well as Rose could. More will be asked of each individual player and each player will in turn be held responsible for producing more in each category.
The players should fully expect this and they should fully expect the criticism they might have to endure if they fail in producing a high winning percentage. They should expect the negative media coverage, the harsh newspaper headlines, the back and forth criticism on the radio, they should be prepared for this because struggle invites criticism.
Nobody complains when your up but when you start to slip, when your team goes through a hardship, everybody is quick to point out the problems. With all this said, this season is not the end of the Chicago Bulls that have led the East in the past two seasons, it is only the beginning, here are three reasons why Chicago fans should be optimistic about the Bulls future…
1) Coach Tom Thibodeau just signed a 4-year extension with the Bulls. His coaching started with the Bulls in 2010 and his hiring immediately showed its benefits. Chicago clinched the 1st seed in the East two years in a row.
Before Thibodeau took over as head coach, Chicago went through three different coaches in four years. Jim Boylan coached Chicago from 2007 to 2008 and led Chicago to a 33-49 season and the 4th seed in the East.
After Boylan was Vinny Del Negro who coached from 2008 to 2010. In those two seasons, Chicago finished 2nd and 3rd in the East posting 41-41 records both seasons and losing in the first round of the playoffs both seasons.
After Del Negro was Thibodeau, his records and stats speak for themselves but what they don’t attest to is his philosophy of suffocating defense. With him at the helm for another four years, Chicago will be in good hands. Hands that will lead to a strong defense that will translate to better offense.
2) Chicago has the luxury of having a protected first round drat pick owed to them from the Charlotte Bobcats. In 2006, Chicago drafted LaMarcus Aldridge 2nd overall and immediately traded him to the Portland Trail Blazers for Tyrus Thomas and Viktor Khryapa.
Chicago then traded Tyrus Thomas to Charlotte in February 2010 for Flip Murray, Acie Law and a future first round draft pick protected though the top 12 in 2013, top 10 in 2014, top 8 in 2015 and then it becomes unprotected in 2016.
Because Charlotte is still continuing to struggle to make the playoffs, the pick may very well come in 2016 but a first round pick is a huge advantage for Chicago and could translate to Chicago drafting another star who could be paired with Rose to make a powerful duo.
3) Nikola Mirotic. Nikola was drafted 23rd overall in the 201 draft by the Houston Rockets and then traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves where he was traded again to Chicago and that’s hopefully where he stays.
This is a kid who is 6’10 and is often compared to the likes of Dirk Nowitzki, he shot 52% from the field last year, 44% from 3-point range and 91% from the line while averaging 12.5 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game. His numbers are good but not great and they will surely improve when he debuts with the Bulls in the 2014-2015 season.
If he goes on to live up to the player who is is compared to, he will give Chicago the secondary scorer they need as well as a young and versatile power forward who can step out and bury the long ball as well as compliment Rose.
Compared to Dirk, his numbers are already greater than his when compared to his rookie season (Dirk averaged 8 ppg and 3.4 rpg while shooting 40% from the field and 21% from 3-point range).
Chicago loves to run the pick-and-roll between Rose and Joakim Noah, imagine if they had another big man who could pose a threat both in the paint and beyond the arc.
Mirotic would thrive not just from the pick-and-roll play but also from Derrick Rose’s ability to penetrate into the paint. Rose got injured from doing that, imagine if he could penetrate, have the defense collapse on him and kick it out to Mirotic who could bury the jump-shot from anywhere on the court.
The abilities and possibilities this kid could bring to Chicago are endless and should have every Chicago fan waiting for the day he arrives and dons a Chicago uniform.
Chicago fans should be optimistic about there teams future,they retained there coach who has led them to success two years in a row, obtained a first round draft pick as early as 2013 or as late as 2016 and have secured a pick who could offer them an outlet scorer who -when he arrives- could take the pressure off of Rose and provided versatility at the power forward position.
While this season may be difficult for the Bulls to thrive in, there is no question that both the team and the fans should be satisfied with the way this organization is headed in the next couple of years.