NBA basketball is back! With a 92-88 Bull’s win in their preseason opener last night against the Memphis Grizzlies and less than 3 weeks until the regular season opener on Halloween, it’s officially time to talk Bulls basketball! After a post season of doom and gloom that included losing star point guard Derrick Rose in the opening series of the playoffs, the Bulls definitely have their challenges ahead in the upcoming season. But, don’t let the doubters sway you, this is definitely a team to be excited about.
Before we take a look at the season ahead, let’s recap the critical events leading up to the start of the season. Bulls fans will always remember the moment that Derrick Rose, the heart and soul of the Chicago Bulls, fell to the court clutching his knee with an ACL injury at the end of Game 1 against the Philadelphia 76ers in the opening round of the playoffs. So gut-wrenching was the moment that Adidas has created a commercial specifically about that pivotal moment as part of Rose’s ‘The Return” campaign. Rose’s injury has required 8-12 months of rehab which will keep him off the court until at least January.
After Rose went down, Jokaim Noah was next with an ankle injury. Bulls fans watched in disbelief as injuries wreaked havoc on the team resulting in a humbling first round elimination in a playoffs that the Bulls were expected to dominate.
The off-season saw more turbulence as the Bulls were forced to part ways with so many members of our beloved bench mob during free agency. Gone are Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Watson, players that provided tremendous depth to the team last season
However, despite the unfortunate turn of events, all hope is not lost for the upcoming season and the Bulls are in a great position to lift our spirits once again as we wait for the return of the irreplaceable DRose and welcome a new roster of young guns and proven veterans.
What to Know About the 2012 Season:
- Changes to the roster: The Bulls lost much of their bench during the off-season, but the simple fact remains that they were “the bench” which means they are back-up and replaceable. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the sharp shooting Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Watson, but the new crew has definite potential. Most importantly, with the exception of Rose the Bulls’ core starting line-up is still in tact. Chicago’s two forwards Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer are back, their soulful center Joakim Noah is healthy after his ankle injury, shooting guard Rip Hamilton is ready for a rally season, and fan favorite, Taj Gibson survived the bench mob cleansing and will be ready to prove he was worth keeping around.
The Return of Captain Kirk: With he loss of all-star Derrick Rose, the Bulls have a huge gaping void to fill at point guard. Kirk Hinrich, otherwise known as Captain Kirk, could never replace Rose, but the veteran player could be fun to watch as he embarks on his second journey with the Chicago Bulls. He’ll be joined by rookie Marquis Teague (the Bulls 2012 first round draft pick) and Nate Robinson in the back court. Robinson, the energetic pick-up from the Warriors, hopes to be the “X Factor” for the Bulls this season adding a spark off the bench.
- In Thibs we trust: Defensive minded guru and head coach Tom Thibodeau is fresh off a 4-year contract extension with the Bulls. He’s absolutely one of the premiere coaches in the league (2011 Coach of the Year) who has his players giving everything they’ve got each time they step on the court. The 2012-2013 season will be a true test of Coach Thibs ability, but we have faith!
- A new hot sauce? The Bulls lost the 3-point hot sauce from Kyle Korver who was traded to Atlanta, but they picked up Marco Belinelli, a 26-year-old sharp shooter from the New Orleans Hornets. Belinelli is known for his offensive abilities to create his own shot (not one of Korver’s strengths). If Thibodeau can work his defensive magic on him, we may have a better player overall filling Korver’s spot.
Your Take Away Piece:
“The Bulls may not see another top ranking in the Eastern Conference this season, but the mix of old and new players will produce a solid ball club. Luckily, the East isn’t necessarily the strong side of the league (things are going to get crazy over in the West with the Thunder, Lakers and Spurs looking better than ever) with the exception of the defending NBA Champions, otherwise known as the Miami Heat. Expect the Bulls to compete in the conference this year and hopefully make another playoff appearance.”
Buckle-up Bulls fans! There is a ton of basketball to be played this season. Chicago’s preseason is underway with their first official regular season match-up against the Sacramento Kings on Halloween at home. Check back in all season long for my updates, re-caps and insight on what is sure to be a fun, unpredictable and exciting season ahead.