Chicago Bulls: 5 Things To Watch as Preseason Kicks Off

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Chicago Bulls: Locked and Loaded For Championship Push

David Banks - USA TODAY Sports

It's the beginning of October and the NBA preseason is ready to take off. All teams are in training camp preparing for another long season. Some teams made major upgrades to their rosters and other teams did some minor tweaking. That is what the NBA is all about -- trying to improve so you can have a legitimate shot in the end. The Chicago Bulls are one of those teams ready to make a championship run.

Preseason is a time for teams to build chemistry, introduce the rookies and new free agents, and to build an identity. Coaching staffs get their rotations in order and see who will make the team. The Bulls know what type of team they have. Most of the core is back together to make another run. This goes a long way because the chemistry is already there. These guys have played together for multiple seasons and know each other's weaknesses and strengths.

The Bulls entered training camp the first week with a sense of excitement and urgency. The team has been waiting all offseason to get back on the court. One of the most anticipated things fans wanted to see was Derrick Rose claiming himself 100 percent healthy in training camp. Rose is coming back from ACL surgery that kept him out all of the 2012 season. Now he is back and from early reports, he is looking better than ever. This is where preseason will help him get back on track.

There is something different about this training camp for the Bulls. The players and coaches believe this might be the best team they've had in years. Now it's time for them to take the next step and become a championship-caliber team. It's starts now and here are the five things to watch as the preseason kicks off.

Courtney Harden is a Chicago Bulls writer for Follow him on Twitter @courtney110979, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Derrick Rose being 100 percent healthy

D. Rose
David Banks - USA TODAY Sports

Rose's health will be under major watch this preseason. He claims he is 100 percent healthy physically and mentally. Reports say he's been on a tear and is aggressive in training camp. That's very good news for Bulls fans.

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4. The Starting Core Is Back Together

Paul Abell - USA TODAY Sports

With D. Rose back in the fold, the core of the Bulls starting lineup is back together since the 2012 playoffs. The chemistry will be there, and it's time for the starters to deliver. This might be the last time all of them are together because of Luol Deng's contract situation, and Carlos Boozer might be amnestied after this season. It's now or never for this group.

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3. 3-Point Shooting

David Banks - USA TODAY Sports

The Bulls knew their 3-point shooting was a weakness last season. They picked up some reinforcements in Mike Dunleavy and added rookies Tony Snell and Erik Murphy to alleviate that problem. These pickups should help the perimeter shooting.

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2. Luol Deng's Contract Extension

Mike DiNovo - USA TODAY Sports

Deng's contract will be the talk of the season. He did not get a extension this offseason, so the question is: will this be a distraction? Deng said he is all in for this season and he will deal with his contract after the season. Deng is a professional and it should not be a distraction.

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1. Jimmy Butler's Emergence

David Banks - USA TODAY Sports

Nobody saw the emergence of Butler last season. He had no choice but to step up with all the injuries last season, and he delivered. Now he is the starting 2-guard, and improvement is on the way.

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