Surprising Chicago Bulls
I just have to say that I'm truly surprised how well Chicago has fared without Derrick Rose this season. A few weeks from the All Star Break and the Bulls sit at 3rd in the East with a record of 29 and 18.
Last season in the first round of the playoffs, when Rose went down and Noah went down a few games later causing the Bulls to lose to the 76ers, I thought the Bulls were going to be in for a long hard season...I was wrong. I personally figured Tom Thibodeau would keep the Bulls in the playoff hunt with their tenacious defense, but I never imagined they'd still look like a contender in the East.
Things looked ever bleaker when the bench mob of the Bulls broke up...Asik getting the big contract from the Rockets, trading Kyle Korver, letting CJ Watson, Ronnie Brewer, and John Lucas walk. The Bulls did manage to re-sign Taj Gibson which was big and they also brought in Kirk Hinrich, Nate Robinson, and Marco Bellineli. These additions along with some others have made the transition from last seasons bench mob to this seasons bench surprisingly smooth.
All in all I have to say the Bulls are doing far better than I expected and have two all stars in Joakim Noah and Luol Deng this year as proof. When Derrick Rose returns to full health the Bulls may be the most dangerous team in the Eastern Conference.
im not surprised at all by the bulls.... there an excellent organization and have a very good coach
I think this is the team that really needs to make a run at KG. Thibs and KG are very familiar with each other from their Boston days together, and him and Noah would be an absolute terror offensively and defensively against any team. Problem is Bulls would probably need a third team who would both accept Boozers contract and offer Boston a young piece or expiring contracts.
Boston also gets Miami 2013 pick from Cleveland, and Bulls 2013 pick.
They did the same thing last year.....not suprising.
The Bulls play great D and rebound very well. I posted some stats from teams in the Offseason and the Bulls have been the best rebounding team in the league last season and this by far.
I said if some of the bench guys can compensate the backcourt scoring like Nate did and if Rip plays at least decent they have a chance to play on for the East Crown. On top of that Deng is the usual reliable Wing playing 40 mins a game and Boozer has to get some credit. He truely plays a nice season - not great but more than solid.
I'm not shocked the are 3rd seed right now but happy for them! Good to see the East has some elite teams right now even if Boston isn't Part of that anymore.
The problem for the bulls will be the same problem they have had the last couple of years. They win during the regular season because they play harder then many teams during the regular season. When the playoffs begin other teams are able to pick up their intensity but the bulls are not able to do that because they are already maxing out their intensity. In the end superstars win in the NBA. While Deng and Noah are nice players they are not elite superstars. Bulls management needs to be less in love with their own talent and be will to give up assets in order to bring in a superstar. Be willing to part with Gibson and Charlottes future #1 and whatever else they need to in order to get a superstar.
I really have grown to enjoy this Bulls team. Like the OP noted, I was concerned not only with the obvious absense of Derrick Rose, but the fact they were replacing 3 excellent bench defenders with Bellinelli, Nate Rob, and Jimmy Butler. Alas, Butler has turned into a a rock solid player, and will probably get the bulk of the crunch time minutes at the 2 when this team is at full strength. Robinson has been good more than he';s not, sure hes one of the 2 or 3 worst defensive players in the league, but he brings a lot of scoring off the bench. Boozer has seemed somewhat replenished this year, and Noah and Deng are all stars. With Rose back, I think this team has a legitimate chance.
With that being said, I understand what jonus is saying, my rebuttal to that would be to look at the eastern conference. Two years ago, the Bulls lost to the Heat in 5, but 3 of those 4 losses were determined in the last minutes. The Heat have been somewhat underwelming this year. Wade is much more guardable over the course of 7 games than he was 2 years ago. Bosh is basically a one trick pony at this point, and their supporting cast is filled with mediocre older players. I don't see them as legitimate as they have been the past 2 years, just purely based off of them aging. And if, and only if, Rose is 100%, the Bulls may actually be better than they were then.