Tuesday, October 26, 2010

8 Things We Learned From the Preseason/2010-11 Season Predictions

By Sean Mackey

The preseason is finally over...thank God. We can all finally move on to big boy, regular season NBA basketball.

The Bulls finished the preseason with a 4-4 record including 2 blowout victories over teams that Chicago needs to be blowing out on a consistant basis. Derrick Rose lead the Bulls in scoring and assists averaging 16.9 ppg & 4.5 apg. Joakim Noah almost averaged a double-double with 10.8 ppg & 9.3 rpg.

With all of the sloppy preseason action over, how much did we learn about this Bulls team? A lot actually.

1. Kyle Korver is going to be used just as Ray Allen was in Boston the last 3 seasons. He's going to be coming off screens and shooting in transition. Korver is ridiculously underrated and takes good shots. Catch and shoot baby!

2. The Bulls need a better SG. Ronnie Brewer seems like a bust. He's always injured and well, he's a shooting guard who doesn't really have much of a shot. Keith Bogans has proved to be servicable on the defensive end as well as having a reliable 3 point shot but he's not a guy that needs to be starting. I really wish the Bulls would have signed Allen Iverson or Tracy McGrady. The Bulls need shooters plain and simple.

3. Chicago doesn't have a back up point guard. CJ Watson is more of shooting guard than someone who runs an offense. Watson's going to be great when the Thibs decides to go small and play Rose alongside him but the Bulls can't do that all the time obviously. At times like these, I wish we still had C-Du.

4. James Johnson has really put in some work over the offseason. He's slimmed down, he's faster and is making decent shots including shooting .429 from the 3 point line during the preseason. This is probably what lead the Bulls to pick up his option last night. JJ is proving that he wants to be better and the organization can see that.

6. Omer Asik is not a project. This guy is NBA ready, guards the rim well and rebounds the ball. This is a guy who is going to have to match up with Noah at every practice and it's really going to help make him into a hustling good back up. I'm very excited to see he's going to probably going to get several minutes this season.

7. Luol Deng is back to being awesome...so far. He's always the guy that everyone wants to trade but he's out to prove that one season a few years ago wasn't a fluke. Deng averaged 16 ppg and shot a ridiculous .517 from the 3 point stripe. Thibs is giving Deng the green light to shoot the 3 ball and it's paying off. I'm excited to see he's back to his old self and that he really is a top 10 SF.

8. The Bulls need Carlos Boozer back soon. This is a guy who they really couldn't afford to lose for even a few games but he's out for a month or so and well, the circus trip is coming up in just a few weeks. Boozer and Noah could be the best front court in the NBA and they're going to need to be if the Bulls want to go anywhere in the playoffs this season. Taj isn't going to cut it.

2010-11 NBA Season Predictions:

The Bulls are most likely going to enjoy their best record since 1998 this season but they're still about one piece away from having an elite team. A trade (minus Noah) for Carmelo Anthony would probably push the Bulls up there with the Heat in terms of talent. I believe this is the year the Bulls make the 2nd round of the playoffs but will probably stall out there. Boston and Orlando are just way too deep.

Chicago Bulls 2010-11 record: 51-31

Eastern Conference Playoff Seeding:

1. Miami Heat

2. Orlando Magic

3. Boston Celtics

4. Chicago Bulls

5. Atlanta Hawks

6. Milwaukee Bucks

7. New York Knicks

8. Charlotte Bobcats

Note: I have a feeling the Bucks may bottom out this year. They have really high expectations this season with Bogut coming back and added some shooters but how long before they tune Skiles out? If the Nets can somehow trade for Carmelo Anthony, they may have a decent shot at making the post season.

Western Conference Playoff Seeding:

1. L.A. Lakers

2. OKC Thunder

3. Utah Jazz

4. Dallas Mavericks

5. Houston Rockets

6. San Antoio Spurs

7. Golden State Warriors

8. L.A. Clippers

Note: Denver is going to trade Carmelo Anthony and I doubt they'll have the pieces to make the post season. I also think the Suns run is finally over and agree with Sam Smith that Steve Nash will most likely be dealt before the trade deadline. I think the Clippers are gonna edge out the Trail Blazers as well. That's my bold prediction for the year. Last season it was the Timberwolves making the playoffs...boy was I wrong.

2010-11 Eastern Conference Finals:

Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics (Miami in 6 games)

2010-11 Western Conference Finals:

L.A. Lakers vs. OKC Thunder (L.A. in 7 games)

2010-11 NBA Finals:

Miami Heat vs. L.A. Lakers (L.A. in 6 games)

2010-11 MVP:

Kevin Durant (runner up LeBron James)

2010-11 Defensive Player of the Year:

Dwight Howard (runner up Joakim Noah)

2010-11 6th Man of the Year:

Courtney Lee (runner up Steve Blake)

2010-11 Most Improved Player of the Year:

Danilo Gallinari (runner up Brook Lopez)

2010-11 Coach of the Year:

Erik Spoelstra (runner up Tom Thibodeau)

The NBA Season kicks off tonight with the Heat vs. Celtics...can't wait! The Bulls regular season opens up tomorrow in OKC vs. the Thunder. The Bulls starters will be Rose, Bogans, Deng, Gibson & Noah. Get excited.