As the Chicago Bulls prepare for another postseason, they will be considered just another middle of the pack playoff team. However, that does not mean the Bulls will suffer a first round demise from the Washington Wizards.
The Bulls, first in the NBA in defense, won’t have to change their mentality headed into postseason. They know they’re a defensive-minded team that have to scrap and battle for a win. The Bulls have been playing that way since head coach Tom Thibideau took the job in 2010. And with Joakim Noah, the frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year, it would be foolish to think they cannot beat the Wizards in a best of seven series.
It would also be foolish to think the Bulls can’t score enough points against the Wizards. Most of the Bulls’ scoring deficiencies occurred during the first half of the season when they lost Derrick Rose for the year. So, looking at their team average of 93 points per game is a little deceiving. In fact, over the Bulls’ last 10 regular season games—a stretch where they went 8-2—the team averaged 99.5 points per game. And that includes a 96-78 victory over the Wizards in Washington on April 5.
Their offensive firepower comes mostly from backup point guard D.J. Augustin. Since signing with the Bulls on Dec. 13, Augustin is averaging a team-high 15 points and five assists per game. The Bulls are also getting over 27 points per game at the power forward position from Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson.
Both players have been in a timeshare at the four spot, but can fill-up a stat sheet nevertheless. And don’t forget about the Bulls’ ability to stretch the floor with Mike Dunleavy, or the slashing and cutting to the hoop by Jimmy Butler. It’s true that the Bulls are still not an offensive juggernaut, but they can score.
When the first round of the NBA playoffs comes to an end, expect the Bulls to advance to the second round. It would be foolish to think otherwise at this point. The Bulls may not win it all this season, but they will go far due to their defense and offense.