Monday, July 19, 2010
With free agent acquisitions of Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, and Ronnie Brewer the Bulls are in very good position to not suck next year. In fact I will be very surprised if this team doesn't surpass 50 wins barring major injuries (see histories of Deng, Luol & Boozer, Carlos).
As of right now the roster will look something like this:
PG: Rose/backup yet to be signed
SF: Deng/Korver/James Johnson
C: Noah/Asik/backup yet to be signed
This is a very versatile lineup that should match up with most teams in the league. There's no reason we shouldn't win the division and be one of the top 3 or 4 teams in the East. But as with every team in the league, there are still strengths and weaknesses that need to be addressed.
A lineup of Rose/Brewer/Deng/Taj/Noah is easily one of the best defensive squads in the league. Add defensive specialist Tom Thibodeau to the mix and this is a team that is going to frustrate a lot of offenses throughout the year. Brewer is going to be a huge part of the team's success this year. He's going to bring the same stout defense he's always had but will finally have a stud defensive center behind him protecting the basket. He's tall, long, extremely athletic, and can guard multiple positions. And for a price of 3 years/$12.5? Yes please.
The 09-10 Bulls were one of the top rebounding teams in the league last year even with Noah and Deng missing a sizeable chunk of the season. Add in Carlos Boozer (a career 10.2 RPG player) and the boards are going to be squeaky clean next year. Don't forget about sophomore player Taj Gibson (7.5 RPG in 09-10) & international man of mystery Omer Asik (7' Turkish center who averaged 10+ RPG in the euroleagues his first couple years).
With the exception of Boozer, we are tall and long at every position. Our back court should absolutely physically dominate every team next year. Korver 6'7, Johnson 6'9, Taj 6'9, & Asik 7' round out the bench.
4. Team Setup
This is a team where everyone will know their exact role. Players compliment each other very well and there are no big egos.
Rose: Primary ballhandler and scorer. He is the man on this team and our success will directly correlate with how big of a jump he makes from last year to this year. If you have the last possession in the game and need to score to win he is the guy taking the shot.
Brewer: Defense, run the break, finish around the basket, take smart shots. These are all things he is used to and very comfortable with. He will be lined up against the other teams best offensive wing player every game.
Deng: Our 3rd scoring option which is perfect for him. He's always played solid defense and rebounded very well. If he can take one step back and make 3s from anywhere besides the corner he's going to have a huge impact for this team stretching the floor for Rose.
Boozer: 2nd scoring option: run the pick and roll with Rose, recieve ball, dunk on opposing player, scream loudly in triumph. He is our first back to the basket low post presence we've had since Elton Brand. The offense will run through Boozer when Rose is on the bench or is having a tough night.
Noah: Defense, rebounding, and swagger. Noah has emerged as one of the best young centers in the league and will anchor our defense. Before getting injured last year he led the league in RPG and overall awesomeness. He makes everyone better on the defensive end with his help defense and shot blocking ability.
Korver: Make 3s & look pretty so your girlfriend/wife will watch the game with you.
Taj: Pretty much the same as Noah but obviously not as good and with more baldness.
James Johnson/Omer Asik: Try not to suck
Besides Korver the Bulls don't really have a reliable outside shooter to spread the floor for Rose. Deng showed an ability to hit corner 3s last year but tended to shoot just inside the 3 point line everywhere else on the court. Rose has boasted about his newly developed shot but until we've seen it in a game it's hard to bank on that *crosses fingers*. I do feel people are making too big a deal of our lack of shooting with Rose/Boozer/Deng all able to hit long 2s which does spread the floor, but the lack of 3 point shooting is indeed troubling.
2. Frontcourt Size
Boozer/Taj are both a bit undersized at the PF position and Noah/Asik, although 7' tall, lack the beef to bang with the likes of Dwight Howard and at this point you need to start thinking about possible playoff matchups not regular season wins. I would like to see the Bulls sign a big body to get 5-10 mins a game to bang inside and hack the shit out of people when needed.
3. Secondary Ball Handler
When Rose is on the bench or (pleasegodno) if he gets injured who is going to handle the ball? Brewer has said he's willing to be that guy but I'm not big on that idea. Backup PG/Combo guard needs to be a priority right now and hopefully will be the next signing the Bulls make.
With all that said, I'm very optimistic about the upcoming season. Derrick Rose has the players around him to jump to superstar level and he is only 21. 21!!! We have a very young core and with most of our new signings being 3 year deals we remain extremely financially flexible in the future. Things are looking up in the windy city.