Chicago Bulls’ Starting 5: Grades So Far
Chicago Bulls: Starting 5 Grades So Far
For the first three weeks of the season, it's been a roller coaster of a ride for the Chicago Bulls. They came into this season with high expectations and were predicted to be a solid championship contender. On paper, the roster was fully loaded with veterans and young players. The coach, Tom Thibodeau is one of the best in the business. So there was really no reason not to like the Bulls' chances.
But that's why games are not played on paper, they are played on the basketball court and the Bulls have found that out early in the season.
The Bulls got off to a very shaky start, starting the season 1-3. The team looked all out of sorts and was not playing well together. One of the reasons for the lethargic start, was implementing their former MVP, Derrick Rose back in the lineup. The Bulls and Rose had to get reacclimated with each other. This was not a smooth transition in the beginning. The chemistry was not there and the turnovers were mounting up rapidly. This reunion needed time to jell.
Over the last two weeks, that time practicing and playing with each other is paying huge dividends. The Bulls have rattled off three wins in a row and the starters are looking more and more comfortable with each other. They are starting to trust each other and finding a consistent rhythm. On top of all that, the Bulls are getting healthy. Rose, Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah were battling injuries in the beginning of the season. Now these guys are clicking and finding their offense.
The Bulls' have one of the best starting fives in the NBA. From top to bottom, they all bring a specific skill set. The timing is coming around and they are coming together as a unit. Here are my grades for how the Bulls' starters have performed in the first 3 weeks of the season.
5. Point Guard, Derrick Rose - C+
Rose has started off slow to begin this season. He is finding and playing his way to become that elite player again. He has his quickness and bounce, just his timing's been off. But he is starting to play well and getting his rhythm back. He just has to stay healthy and avoid those minor injuries.
4. Shooting Guard, Jimmy Butler - D
Butler hasn't played well at all this season. He hasn't gotten comfortable being a starter yet. His jumper has betrayed him and he looks like he's lost on an island. The one thing he always does, though, is play defense. He just has to find his offense and chemistry with D. Rose and everything else will fall in place for Jimmy "Buckets."
3. Small Forward, Luol Deng - C+
Luol Deng is starting to find his groove in the offense. He has been very up and down this season. His jump shot has not been on point and he is not attacking the basket like normal, but then one game he almost had a triple-double. When his offense isn't rolling, he can be relied upon to play his all world defense.
2. Power Forward, Carlos Boozer - A-
Boozer has been the Bulls' most consistent player thus far, which is surprising to some. His passion and dedication has never been questioned. It's the offensive efficiency that was lacking. But this season, his offense is rolling, averaging 17 points and eight rebounds in seven games. His jump shot seems more lethal and he is playing in the low post to do damage. If he keeps this rate up, the Bulls will be a force later in the season.
1. Center, Joakim Noah - B
Noah is the heart and soul of this Bulls' team. He missed all of the preseason because of a groin injury, but was ready to roll in the regular season opener. He was not in game shape in the beginning of the year, but he is starting to find his groove. He's all over the court, rebounding, blocking shots, passing and the energy is back. That's the Noah we know.