So how does Derrick Rose follow up his sensational rookie season? Find out after the jump.
By leading his team to a 44 win season. That's what I am projecting out of the Bulls this season. And at time, I don't know why. I've gone back-and-forth so many times, I'm more confused than Anne Heche and John Kerry combined.
Rose averaged 16.8 and 6.3 assists points per game as a rookie, and he never really hit that infamous wall. Here's hoping he avoids the wall better than the last Bulls phenom to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Rose could see his rebounds (3.9) and steals (0.8) go up with some of that offseason seasoning.
The only place Rose needs a lot of work in is his 3-point shooting, where he connected on 22.2 percent of his shots.
I know it's asking a lot, but if Rose can show the kind of improvements Deron Williams and Chris Paul showed from their first to second years, then Bulls fans are in for a treat. While the rest of the Eastern Conference (and NBA for that matter) is in store for a nightmare.
If Da Bulls are going to be good this season, Tyrus Thomas can't suck. And he can't sulk either. He has griped about playing time, but he's playing for a contract beyond this season and should think about it each and every time he steps out onto the court. Thomas is always good for a jaw-dropping, SportsCenter Top 10 play at least twice a game. He can do it on the offensive end with thunderous slam dunks or on the defensive end with a gravity defying blocked shot.
So, to say that this is a "big" year for T-Squared is an understatement along the lines of saying that Michael Jordan performed at an above average level. Unless Thomas puts it all together in a Bulls uniform, Chicago fans will always be reminded John Paxson passed on LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy and Rudy Gay.
Thomas might be the kind of player that has all the tools, but no tool box.
If Joakim Noah was as successful on the court as he was off it, then the Bulls should be just fine.
I'm not sure what I will remember more from the Joakim Noah Era. His steal and slam against the Celtics would have been the play of the year had it not been for D-Rose's game-saving block, or Ben Gordon's crotch-grabbingly clutch shot.
So, how did Noah celebrate a breakout series? With fun flotation devices.
Here's hoping a healthy Luol Deng returns to form in 2009. If he spends more time on the court than in the doctor's office, he could easily regain the trust he lost in Bulls fans who dismissed him as he seemed to go out of his way to find a doctor to sign his sick note.
Luol, you got your money. Now please play like it.
Damn, we still got Vinny Del Negro as the head coach.
This might suck.
I'm not sure how the Bulls got to the playoffs in the first place last season. Vinny Del Negro and I shared the same amount of coaching experience, yet, he got a coaching job last year and I was relegated to finishing up my college career. Sure, he played in the NBA. So did Eddie Robinson -- and you don't see him patrolling the sidelines of a six-time world champion.
VDN made so many crucial mistakes last season, his owner called him out midseason. The same owner that passed on Doug Collins and Mike D'Antoni ... and barely even acknowledged Avery Johnson's presence on the open market.
Rest be assured that if the Bulls struggle mightily, especially out of the gate, Chicago might be looking for a new leader. The best option for said position is a man who currently works at ESPN. And while it looks as if he is enjoying his work on TV, everyone knows he is one Brooke Hundley away from looking for a new job.
(P.S. -- Is it me or does it look like VDN is getting brain from a ghost right in that photo?)
El Presidente is a Bulls fan. Suck on that, America.
Team MVP: Derrick Rose. If it's not, then it means the Bulls are destined for a lottery pick.
Coach of the Year: Whoever replaces Vinny Del Negro
This year is a success if...
- VDN is unceremoniously canned for an inappropriate relationship with a Matador dancer and replaced with Avery Johnson.
- Luol Deng's
mommydoctor says it's OK for him to play with the rest of the boys.
- Joakim Noah handles the basketball as well as three bottles of cold beverage.
This year is a failure if...
- Michael Jordan discovers a time machine and morphs into the player he was from 1996-98 and joins the New York Knicks.
- D-Rose doesn't take the next step.
- Da Bulls do not make the playoffs.
As a final thought, here is how to properly cheer for the Bulls this season: Your favorite team is the Bulls. Your second favorite team is whoever is playing the Heat. The more Miami loses, the quicker Dwyane Wade comes home to Chicago. It's as simple as that.
Alright, is it time for tip-off yet? Oh, right. The Bulls don't start until Thursday. Great.