By Chris Peterson @cpetersonHDN on July 13, 2014
The Chicago Bulls did not land prized free agent Carmelo Anthony, but they were able to get Pau Gasol, a four-time All-Star who is still capable of playing at a very high-level. Adding the 34-year-old Gasol may not make the Bulls the favorite to win the NBA championship, but they are unquestionably better after adding his scoring ability and versatility. Here are five reasons why Gasol improves Chicago's title chances.
There is obviously a ton of pressure on Rose to return to his MVP form and lead the Bulls back to the promised land. The addition of Gasol will help alleviate some of that pressure as the big man gives the offense another player capable of scoring 20 PPG, whereas that used to just be Rose. The Bulls can also run their offense through Gasol in the low post, giving the offense more options than it's had in a long time.
Last season, Noah carried the Bulls. He was the Defensive Player of the Year and even got consideration for the MVP. Yet, he is not a young pup anymore, he is 30 years old and if the Bulls continue to ask so much of him, his body will breakdown. With Gasol, the Bulls can have a very good three-man rotation with Noah, Gasol and Taj Gibson, which will allow all three big men to stay healthy, while having quality play in the frontcourt at all times.
The Bulls thought they were getting a legitimate low-post scoring threat when they signed Carlos Boozer in 2010, but it never materialized. Gasol, on the other hand, is still one the better low-post scorers in the league and with his passing ability, he can not only score from the low-post, he can facilitate other shots from that position as well.
Yes, it was a great move by the Bulls to get Gasol and he will really improve their team. However, it was also smart to keep Gasol away from teams like San Antonio or Oklahoma City. Of course, the Bulls have to get out of the Eastern Conference first, but having to deal with Gasol on one of those teams would have been a most difficult task.
The most important thing about the Gasol signing is that he gives the Bulls a reliable second scoring option. It was always Rose and then whoever got hot. Now, the Bulls can build their offense around Rose and Gasol. Those two will be deadly in the pick-and-roll game and Gasol is good on the block and has a solid mid-range game. Overall, the Bulls' offense will benefit in a big way from the addition of Gasol.
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