We have to grade the Chicago Bulls on a championship level, and I don’t think they have what it takes to beat Miami, OKC, or other elite teams to win it all. They didn’t make that impact or splash, but it’s still the offseason and we don’t know the full status of injured MVP Derrick Rose. His return is projected to be after the all-star break, well at least in my eyes at the earliest, which will be another opportunity for this team to make moves at the trade deadline.
With that said, they cut costs while upgrading the roster with two way players. The bench mob has been revamped by drafting guard Marquis Teague, bringing guard Kirk Hinrich back, signing a couple shooters in Marco Bellinelli and Vladomir Radmanovic, and veteran big man Nazr Mohammed. Jimmy Butler should get more minutes this season, and he’s playing well in Summer League thus far. Letting center Omer Asik go and replacing him with Mohammed was a smart move. You can’t overpay a backup center, and that certainly will lead to more playing time for forward Taj Gibson. Moving on from backup point guards in CJ Watson and John Lucas III, they added guards that can play both ends of the floor in Teague and Hinrich. Radmanovic adds a different element to the team, a big man that can spread the floor with his perimeter shooting. Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer were replaced by Bellinelli and in a way, Richard Hamilton. He missed most of last season and although his minutes will be limited, he’ll play more games.
It’s been an under the radar offseason but Chicago added versatility and firepower. Having two-way players is a huge advantage. In their back pocket they have Nikola Mirotic, who was named Europe’s Rising Star the past 2 seasons. He should enter the picture when Carlos Boozer leaves town. The Bulls held down the fort without Rose for half the season, so they are capable of top 5 seed in the playoffs with a great scheme and philosophy by coach Tom Thibodeau. Bulls fans shouldn’t expect a championship this year, but the team will definitely be competitive. Next year will be reveal the direction of the franchise. Hopefully the starting 5 can play a full season together, we really haven’t seen the best of the Bulls. Two years ago Boozer and Noah were hurt, last year Rose and Hamilton missed a large portion of the year, Deng and Watson battled through injuries, and Asik was coming off a broken leg. If they don’t get it done within 2 years, this team could change the faces of their starting lineup as fast as they revamped the bench mob. By that time Mirotic joins the team from overseas, and you never know what could happen with stars like LeBron James and Kevin Love expected to hit free agency.
Chicago should continue to be skeptical of the front office because they’re very conservative, but the near and long term future is bright with Rose, Thibodeau, and the pieces they have to either win with or eventually trade.