The Chicago Bulls will be a defensive force, but their offensive identity continues to be a mystery.
Chicago’s coach Tom Thibodeau preaches defense like no other because the success of their team is predicated on a strong defense. Subconsciously, he lives by the motto, “offense sells tickets, defense wins game,” but how long will that hold up? In today’s NBA, teams are putting up huge numbers and are scoring in the 100’s. Anything less than that is often considered a low-scoring game.
It’s only preseason but there are still plenty of concerns about where this team will stand offensively. Last season, the Bulls were tied for 29th in scoring and ranked third in defense. Derrick Rose, the team’s leading scorer, has returned and they’ve also added a couple of substantial pieces to help with the scoring, veteran Mike Dunleavy Jr. and rookie Tony Snell. However, it’s not going to change anything unless it’s consistent. There’s no value in a team who can defend and can’t score.
This team has the talent; on the other hand, the problem is that Rose is the only player as of right now, besides Kirk Hinrich and maybe Jimmy Butler, who could consistently create their own shot. A lot of other players on the team need Rose or someone else to set them up and unless that changes, it’s going to be a long season for Chicago. They have the intangibles to make it out of the east — I picked them to win their conference, but that won’t happen if other players on the team aren’t scoring on regular basis.
Chicago made a smart move by waiving Dahntay Jones because at this point, their backcourt is stacked to the max and Jones wasn’t bringing anything new to table except defense. They have defenders; Chicago needs scorers. Honestly, they need both, which is why Nate Robinson leaving to go to Denver is going to be a blessing in disguise. Yes, at times, he was clutch, but he was a liability on defense. His size posed problems because he frequently got beat by quicker, bigger and stronger guards. He had too many turnovers and he’s not a guy who can move without the ball.
Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer have both struggled at times with finding their rhythm. Fans have even gone so far as to call for Boozer’s head because his defense is sometimes suspect and his scoring isn’t reliable. If the Bulls have any aspirations of getting back to the Eastern Conference Finals, Deng and Boozer need to produce more, especially Deng.
Deng’s future with the Bulls depends on the success of the team this season. If the Bulls don’t score, they won’t be successful. If they aren’t successful, there’s a strong possibility he won’t be around next year.