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NBA 2015-16 Team Previews: Chicago Bulls – Culture Change

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Chicago Bulls

Our NBA 2015-16 Team Previews continues in the Central Division, next up The Chicago Bulls:

Record:  50-32, 4th in the Eastern Conference,  2nd in Central Division, Lost in 2nd round of playoffs

Rank: Offense:104.7 (10)   Defense:101.5 (11) Differential/Net: plus +3.3 (9) Pace: 95.4 (21)

2014-15

Key Stats:

  • Second overall in Opponent effective Field Goal percentage, First overall in Opponent Shooting Efficiency.
  • Second overall in total rebounds per game.
  • Departure of Tom Thibodeau, Coach Thibs spent five years with the Bulls.

Off Season Moves

Key Areas Needing Addressing:

  • With Thibs gone will the Bulls regress defensively?
  • Under new head coach Fred Hoiberg how will the transition period be to a faster paced game?
  • As the issue every year with Chicago, the health of Derrick Rose.

Draft:   Bobby Portis selected 22nd in first round of draft

Player Additions/Players Re-Signed:

Players Exiting:

2015-16

Core Players:

Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic, Pau Gasol, Mike Dunleavy

Key Reserves:

Joakim Noah, Aaron Brooks, Tony Snell

Outlook

Rising Star:

Slowly emerging as one of the league’s brightest two-way stars is Chicago guard Jimmy Butler. Butler’s offensive growth since entering the league has been one of the many reasons Chicago is constantly in debate as contenders out of the East. Jimmy has over the years been known as one of the league’s premier wing defenders making life hard for opposing team’s top scoring threats.

Oct 14, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) shoots against the Detroit Pistons during the second half at the United Center. The Detroit Pistons defeated the Chicago Bulls 114-91. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Over the course of the past two seasons Butler has really flourished offensively with his fearless intensity going to the rim. Jimmy is a player who can quietly put up twenty points without having his number called. Butler has a knack for being around the ball in the right situations while maintaining a high activity level.

On The Bubble:

Trust me, I love Derrick Rose as much as you do. A quiet, humble superstar is hard to come around now a days and you hate to see the worst happen to a guy like this. Rose’s explosiveness for a point guard his size was rare, his strength going to the rim was jaw dropping and his silent demeanor in the most clutch situations was respected.

I may be speaking like it’s the end of the Rose Era in Chicago which it’s not, but one has to wonder if Rose experiences another injury how will Chicago respond this time around? Is it time to move on from the home town hero and build around Jimmy Butler? Rose’s health will be monitored through out the season and his workload should substantially decrease with Thibs gone. Stay healthy Derrick please, we miss you.

X-Factor:

Rookie Head Coach Fred Hoiberg comes into the season with high expectations taking over as the head of a contending roster. It is noted that Hoiberg wants to play a fast paced motion offense that’ll lead to a lot of open looks in transition. Offensively expect the Bulls to be a lot more lethal under Hoiberg’s call.

How will Hoiberg continue to instill this Chicago team with the defensive culture Thibs brought the previous five years? Hoiberg is also faced with the challenge of managing veteran minutes and keeping players fresh come post season.

Best Case: 

Derrick Rose stays healthy and this Bulls offense becomes a powerhouse. Having capable shooters at all positions with so much spacing is almost unfair given the penetrating ability of Derrick Rose.

NBA Finals Appearance.

Worst Case:

Outside of predicting an injury for Rose which is something I’d never want to do, the Bulls regress exponentially defensively and Coach Hoiberg has a difficult time getting this roster to play the way he envisioned.

Second Round exit.

Prediction:

Chicago is a mix of seasoned veterans and young guns who are eager to contribute. Change was needed after a repetitive long and grueling five seasons under Thibs. This roster is well suited for Hoiberg’s vision offensively, shooters on the wings, speedy guards and bigs who can play make elbow extended. With Thibs gone Chicago will finally know how it feels to enter the post season fresh and ready to go.

Eastern Conference Finals.

Games versus the Houston Rockets

  • March 5th at United Center
  • March 31st at Toyota Center

Fansided Affiliate Site:  Pippen Ain’t Easy

Make sure you catch up on our entire Team Preview Series, our Houston Rockets Player Profile Series as well as our SCS Round Table Sessions to help you get through the early season. Start your morning with SCS Rocket Science Daily and visit us throughout the day to keep abreast of all your Houston Rockets news and updates.

Next: Pistons Preview

Next: SCS Complete Round Table Sessions

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