By Clyde A. Speller @ClydeASpeller on April 15, 2014
Despite losing star point guard Derrick Rose for the year to yet another knee injury and trading away All-Star forward Luol Deng, the Chicago Bulls never threw in the towel. As a result, the Bulls now find themselves in the thick of the hunt for an NBA title. With either the Brooklyn Nets or the Washington Wizards on the horizon, here are five things that will guarantee a first-round win for the Bulls.
Rookie Tony Snell got a good amount of experience on the court this season. However, Snell’s rookie mistakes must come to an end if the Bulls are to advance past the first round of the playoffs.
Chicago made a wise decision in bringing back one of the members of the original “Bench Mob.” Ronnie Brewer will bring a much-needed presence on the defensive side of the court. More importantly, Brewer’s pressure will be more appreciated in the later rounds of the playoffs against players like LeBron James and Paul George.
Being benched in the fourth quarter of every game isn’t a good sign, and it's even worse when you’re in the starting lineup. Head coach Tom Thibodeau made that decision this season with Carlos Boozer, and it seems to have worked for the Bulls. This move gives the more-talented Taj Gibson more playing time in more crucial situations.
The play of point guard D.J. Augustin has made Bulls fans forget about Nate Robinson’s performance of last season. Since joining the team, Augustin has been the team’s leading scorer, and has finally flourished into the player many expected him to be. Without Augustin’s scoring, Chicago won’t stand a chance in the playoffs.
Not only is Joakim Noah the heart and soul of the Bulls and the team’s best player, he is also considered one of the best players in the entire league. Any of the success Chicago has in store this postseason will primarily be dependent on the MVP-level of play by Noah.
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