With Carmelo Anthony ready to return to the New York Knicks, the Chicago Bulls must find ways to get creative in free agency. However, there is still a lot to be optimistic about for the Bulls heading into the 2014-15 season.
Now that Pau Gasol is ready to become Bull, the team can move on from the Carlos Boozer era and hopefully improve upon their 48-win season. Although Gasol might not be a spring chicken anymore at 34 years of age, he gives the Bulls a ton of size at 7’0. With Joakim Noah at 6’11, the team will have one of the biggest backcourts in the NBA and still have Taj Gibson coming off the bench at 6’9. Also, the Bulls can get even bigger if they can somehow bring over European star Nikola Mirotic, who also towers at 6’10.
But the help doesn’t stop there.
When Derrick Rose returns from injury, Chicago will undoubtably fix some of their scoring woes, and it’s not just because he has a career-scoring average of 21 points per game. Rose has the ability to draw double and triple teams, and force defense to collapse on him. At the same time, it gets teammates easier shots, making the Bulls much more difficult to defend. Opposing teams will no longer be able to stay in man defense, forcing the Bulls to take difficult jump shots further away from the basket.
Plus, having two great passing big men such as Gasol and Noah will elevate everyone else as well. After all, Chris Webber and Vlade Divac made a living finding cutters and open shooters with the Sacramento Kings in the early 2000’s. Having extra playmakers on the court only means that a player such as Jimmy Butler will be utilized to his fullest ability. Butler was always more of a cutter and slasher and tends to struggle when he has to take jumpers. Now, with Rose set to return and Gasol in the mix, the Bulls will have more passing lanes to find Butler diving to the basket.
The new bench mob appears to be taking shape once again as well. Tony Snell will be better in his second season and is making strides in summer league. Rookie Doug McDermott will also add a scoring punch off the bench at small forward that has been missed since players such as Kyle Korver and Marco Belinelli left the team.
Reports also suggest that Kirk Hinrich has re-signed to back up Rose at point guard and is probably best suited as a reserve at this point of his career. Also, let’s not forget that Gibson will return to the bench with the signing of Gasol. Gibson the Sixth Man of Year runner up last season and was the lynchpin for the Bulls bench mob over the years.
Of course it would be nice to have a superstar such as Anthony paired up with Rose. But the Bulls can’t hang their heads on the fact that Anthony isn’t coming. There was no telling how well the duo would’ve played together, and Anthony doesn’t really have the best track record when it comes to wins in the postseason. But the Bulls will never know, and honestly, it doesn’t really matter. The Bulls will enter the 2014-15 season with an improved roster. That’s all that matters.