As we embark on the first pre-season game tonight I find myself giddy with anticipation for Chicago basketball, patient but also a bit anxious because this is a now-or-never kind of season for our Bulls. Since 2011 we’ve been so close we could taste the NBA Finals; Derrick Rose was the MVP, nurse Joakim Noah won defensive player of the Year in 2014, sovaldi Jimmy Butler made his first All-Star team, and the Bulls picked up All-Star Pau Gasol, but for one reason or another (too many heart wrenching injuries to count) the Bulls have failed to get past Lebron James and whatever team he was playing on. So what makes this year different? Can the Bulls get past their Eastern Conference rival Lebron James and his elite Cleveland Cavaliers. I may just be another hopeless optimistic fan, but I think our guys can do it. Here are the three key ingredients to a successful Bulls season.
Well, here I was thinking the Bulls were relatively healthy this season and then Derrick Rose went and broke his face during the first practice. Can we get that guy some bubble wrap already? Luckily, the left orbital fracture he suffered doesn’t require a year of rehab and DRose should be ready to start the regular season (phew!). Aside from Mike Dunleavy who is still recovering from off-season back surgery the Bulls should be as full-strength as they’ve seen in three years. Taj Gibson also had off-season surgery and won’t be starting in the first pre-season game, but he will be using October to ease back into things.
Staying healthy throughout the season is of utmost importance. The Bulls have quite the big man lineup with Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, Gibson, and Mirotic all ready to play some minutes. With big men we can dominate the boards, but the bigger the guy the easier it is to get injured – they have more weight pounding down day after day. We know all too well what it’s like to get to the Eastern Conference finals and not have enough strength to defeat the opponent (who is generally the freakishly athletic James). A healthy Bulls team is the only way to win.
There’s a new coach in town, and he’s got offense on his mind. Fred Hoiberg is known for being an offensive strategist, a very handsome strategist that is, and this is a breath of fresh air for Bulls fans. Ex-Head Coach Tom Thibodeau was a defensive guru, but he burned out his starters forcing them to play ungodly amount of minutes and limiting opportunities for rookies to get playing time. Hoiberg is a different kind of coach and we’re thinking it’s just what the doctor ordered to compete with NBA sharpshooters this season.
Jimmy Butler’s MVP Season:
This off-season our boy Jimmy Buckets got PAID. We’re talking five-year $95 Million contract. Yup, not a bad days work Mr. Butler. After low-balling the rising All-Star in October of 2014, the Bulls front office came to their senses and showed Butler the money. NOW, we need Jimmy to have another incredible season and lead these Bulls to a title. It would be ideal if Butler could take his game to the next level, a little offensive-defensive combo.
It’s always easy to speculate as an eager fan, but October 27th will be the first real show of what our Bulls are working with this season. Preseason is just a teaser of what’s in store this year, but we’re READY watch our Bulls ball.