Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bulls Season Preview

By Alex Derickson

With one week before the season starts, and one televised Bulls game down, I figured it would be a good time to make my season preview/prediction.

Like Sean said previously, the best looking player so far has been Tyrus Thomas. In the second game against the Jazz he looked unstoppable before fouling out. He's using his quickness and athleticism to his advantage which is something he lacked the previous seasons. 

The X-factor for this season are going to be whether or not Kirk Hinrich is going to have the swagger he had when the Bulls won 49 games. He's one of the teams captains and he needs to step up and play like one. I'm hoping last season was just a fluke for him and he'll come back looking like the Kirk of old.

Another factor is if Ben Gordon will try to prove he deserves that big contract he keeps asking for. He's going to need to give the team more than 18 points a game. The dudes a proven scorer but he's inconsistent. I hate turning the games on and asking, "Which Ben Gordon is going to play tonight?"

Derrick Rose has proven that he can run the point. That's a given. He's sloppy at times but he's 19 running an NBA team's offense better than the likes of Chris Duhon or Rafer Alston. He's the teams future and I haven't seen a reason for them to bring him along slowly like Pax has been saying. 

I'm liking the system VDN has installed for this team. It's a lot of pushing the ball and the defense they've been known for is starting to show up again. The interior defense....not so much, but one step at a time. 

Larry Hughes...please stop taking so many awful shots. Actually, if the ball touches your hands, pass it back to the previous player. He obviously wasn't paying attention and probably didn't mean to give you the ball.

All in all, the team looks better than I thought they would. The conference has improved slightly (mainly Philadelphia) but their division itself is pretty much the same. Hopefully they get off on the right foot and beat the Bucks and the Grizzlies and at least get off to a 2-1 start. Sadly, that would actually be a better start to the season than previous years. It's a lighter circus trip too which is a plus. It's the same tough western conference teams, but not as many games for them to dig a hole in their season.

Hopefully by mid-season Rose and VDN have a better understanding of their jobs and the players start to play together the way we are used to seeing. I'm still keeping my expectations a little low for this season, but after watching them play, I can honestly say I'm excited for the season to start and see what they can do.

Season Prediction: 39-43 (9th in the conference maybe 8th if the Wizards can't recreate the same chemistry they had without Gilbert while he's out again. I'll stick with 9th though)