(photo courtesy of ESPN.com)
The Bulls have made a complete 360 on their roster for the 2016-17 season, adding 10 new people. Today, we will focus on the starting line-up.
The sensation, Derrick Rose, was no longer beneficial to the Bulls. Ever since his ACL tear in 2013, Rose struggled to remain healthy upon return. Rose is now known for his constant knee injuries, rather than his accomplishments on the court. It was time the Bulls let him go. This was a great team decision if they wanted a chance of winning a championship in the future.
Rajon Rando is going to be a great asset to the team. Rondo is a floor general who excels in passing, he knows where his teammates should have the ball on the court. There is no doubt, Rondo puts his teammates in the best scoring position. In Thursday night’s game against the Celtics, he had nine assists. Doors will open for the Bulls having Rondo’s eyes as the face of their offense. The Bulls need a healthy dependent point guard. Rondo brings spacing to the court. The Bulls have struggled from behind the three-point line in the past. If they continue to shoot like they did Thursday night, it will be hard to stop the Bulls offense. Rondo’s game is about penetrating and kicking out to the perimeter. The Bulls need to find a rhythm and a reliable guard who can drain the three ball.
In my opinion, picking Dwayne Wade was the best decision for the team. Coming from a Wade fan, this statement is slightly bias. After Thursday night’s 22-point debut, it is hard NOT to say the Bulls didn’t make the correct decision. Especially, since the Bulls struggled from the three -point line in the past and Wade was immaculate beyond the arc, shooting four for six. We all know Wade is not known as three- point shooter, a major component missing from the Bull’s roster last year. So why did the Bulls bring him in? Wade is an excellent cutter. This forces the defense to keep an eye on him. Wade may not excel behind the arc, but he is dominating in the paint. He is not afraid to take the hit and finish at the free throw line. Not to mention, he goes inside for the rebounds on both ends of the court. Wade may be aging, but he can give the team an efficient 30 minutes per game and he proved this Thursday night. Wade brings experience to the team, he has been in the championship setting multiple times, he knows how to maintain his composure and lead his team. Wade brings talent and energy to the Bulls, elements the team has lacked in the past.
Controlling the backboard is essential in the game of basketball. Thursday night, Lopez had eight rebounds, six of them being offensive rebounds.
Gibson had ten rebounds, eight of which were on defense. Butler was the team’s high scorer, finishing with 24 points.
In today’s game of basketball, it seems the fast – paced teams who shoot threes come up with the win. I have always been a fan of teams that execute a fundamental offensive set. With the guard play this year, I think the Bulls have the flexibility of being a fast- paced team, but can slow down the game when necessary. Wade and Rondo can run a pick and pop or a pick and roll. Rondo has the option of running the pick and roll with Lopez as well. Lopez is quick and the Bulls have to use this to their advantage. Returning players Gibson and Butler can run these options as well. With the new guard addition to the roster the Bulls can space out the floor. The offense is going to be dependent on guard play. The Bulls are known for struggling behind the arc. Teams are going to force the players to shoot the three ball, once the guards become efficient behind the line the game becomes easy. The Bulls can now play inside out and vice versa, the game is less stressful for the big men in the paint and Rondo is now comfortable in his element, dishing the ball for the best scoring opportunity.
So, what is so special about this year’s team? The team now has options. In the past the Bull’s offense was limited. The Bulls were dependent on Derrick Rose; in the beginning of his career he was one of the most dominate point guards in the league. His knee injuries limited what he could do on the offensive side of the court. Rose became timid, it is a risk every time he enters the paint or goes up for a lay-up. Rondo is a dependable guard that can create space for the team. As for Wade, he gives the offense options; he is a threat inside the arc, and a potential threat beyond the arc. Lopez is a great addition to the team, he is quick, can score the ball and rebound. On the other hand, Joakim Noah seemed to be lacking on the offensive side of the court, especially last season. Noah and Rose were the face of the Bulls and dominate in the beginning of their careers, it was time for a change, the Bulls needed to reface their offense. The old Bulls were predictable, they had a point guard who lacked mobility and no threats from the perimeter. The new bulls can dominate inside the paint, run fast paced, control the back board and space the floor on offense. If the guards continue to shoot like they did Thursday night the Bull may have efficient guards from behind the arc, which they desperately need.
Overall, the Bulls have a promising line up. Two big men dominating the paint and an efficient backcourt. After Thursday night’s game the Bulls look like they will be significant competition in the Eastern Conference. The team has talent, synergy and a bright future.
My season prediction is 60-22.
Statistics courtesy of ESPN.com