Friday, July 20, 2012

Chicago Bulls: A Year to Forget and an Unsure Future

If you ask any Bulls fan what the expectations for the 2011-2012 season were, they would all say championship bound.

The fact that the Bulls had the reigning MVP in Derrick Rose, the coach of the year in Tom Thibodeau, and the acquisition of Richard “Rip” Hamilton to complement an already deep team would have anyone salivating.

However, that was not the case at all.

I believe anyone could tell you what the main reason the Bulls were not successful this year and that would be injuries. Rip Hamilton started the streak and he just couldn’t seem to get back on the court the entire year. If that is not bad enough, Derrick Rose missed over 25 games due to a variety of injuries. The Bulls had to play the majority of the season with bench players and they still got the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. CJ Watson, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, and John Lucas III all played key roles in this achievement.

Come playoff time, the Bulls looked better than ever. Everyone was healthy, they had a very legitimate and dangerous starting lineup, and they were playing the 76ers that seemed like they were only good for talking smack to their opponents; or so we thought.

Game 1 on the playoffs was the best basketball the Bulls played all year. Sheer domination on offense and defense were on display. Then when Derrick Rose fell to the floor and wasn’t getting back up, Bulls fans everywhere knew the season was over.

Rose’s injury wasn’t the only reason the Bulls lost, however. A key contributor to the rebounding effort and defensive presence in Joakim Noah went down with a very serious ankle injury, leaving the Bulls to be lead by Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer. The Bulls would then not win another game and exited the playoffs early.

Which then brings me to this year.

The Bulls are in a very sticky situation. First of all is the injury to Derrick Rose is going to delay his comeback to the 2012-2013 season. This is a major issue. This very well could be the reason why the Bulls drafted Marquis Teague out of University of Kentucky.

Coming off of a championship at UK more than likely lead to the Bulls selection of the 19-year-old point guard. I however believe this a bone-headed move by the Bulls. My concern for the Bulls has always been, and still is, they need someone there to help spread the floor for Derrick Rose and that is most certainly not Teague. They need perennial shooters that can create instant offense.

That is extremely hard to find though due to the long-term, ridiculous contracts the front office has given to the likes of Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng. They have to have cap room to be able to get the best talent, and frankly the Bulls do not have that.

So if I have to make a prediction I would say that this year is the beginning of an era in Chicago of just being average. Sure they will go to the playoffs, but maybe a 4-seed at best. I believe you are going to see the Bulls make a play to get the infamous Dwight Howard (A.K.A. Man-child) and have to release players to reach the contract he wants. This year is going to be dreadful for Bulls fans to witness, but be patient. They are a young team and will hopefully pull it out. Who knows? They might prove me wrong. I really hope they do.

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