A victory over the Denver Nuggets Friday night capped off a perfect preseason for the Chicago Bulls. However, despite their 8-0 record there are still several question marks surrounding the 2013-14 Chicago Bulls. Below is a list of the three most intriguing questions facing the Bulls as they prepare to tip off the season against the Miami Heat Tuesday, October 29.
Can They Stay Healthy?
This is by far the biggest question and potential limitation facing the Chicago Bulls this season. Heading into the preseason the pieces all seemed to be in place for the Bulls, however, they are already down a few key men and both Kirk Hinrich and Joakim Noah could potentially miss the season opener. Each of the past two postseasons Chicago has seen there team depleted by injuries, and Bulls fans are keeping their fingers crossed that that will change this year. The good news here is that the Bulls are taking a much more conservative approach to their players’ health this year. Noah, who is nursing a groin injury, has played in just one preseason game all year. This is both disappointing and encouraging news for Bulls fans. Although it would be great to see Noah out there with the rest of the team, it is very reassuring to see that the Bulls are more concerned that Noah plays in April and May when it matters the most rather than have him try and fight through a preseason injury.
Will Derrick Rose‘s brilliant preseason carry over into the regular season?
Derrick Rose has been one of the biggest stories in the NBA this preseason. After sitting out the entire 2012-13 season, the former MVP made his much anticipated return to NBA action earlier this month. Despite one minor setback (knee soreness) which caused him to miss the Bulls’ third preseason game, Rose has not disappointed. He looks as fast and agile as ever and has even added an improved three-point shot to his already dangerous arsenal. However, the question still remains: Will he be able to keep up this level of play during the course of an 82 game regular season? If Rose can stay healthy it looks as though he will have a huge season.
Who will be the “X Factor” in Chicago?
If the Bulls want to have a chance to contend for a title this season they are likely going to have to go through the Miami Heat. In order to dethrone the champions and come up victorious, the Bulls are going to need to get some help from someone outside of their core group of star players. I see the “X Factor” this season being Taj Gibson. After having a very mediocre season last year, Gibson has improved greatly this preseason. There were several reports saying that he had been working out very hard this offseason and it has most definitely showed. Gibson scored in double digits in every game but one this preseason including two games in which he scored 18. With Joakim Noah’s early season availability in question, Gibson will have a great opportunity to play a large role on this team. He will likely be playing heavy minutes this year, and I see Gibson having a bounce-back season in 2013-14.