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As the old saying goes, defense wins championships. And, there is no better defensive team in the Central Division than the Chicago Bulls.
According to stats from ESPN, Chicago was first in the league in points allowed last season (88.2 per game) and second in opponents' field goal percentage (42.1 percent). The Bulls primary competition in the division, the Indiana Pacers, were 10th (94.4 points per game) and sixth (43.5 percent) in the same categories, respectively.
Granted, Chicago lost one of their best interior defensive players in Omer Asik. The combination of Asik and Taj Gibson off the bench was arguably the most lethal paint presence in the NBA, and the Bulls will definitely miss that duo when closing games out in the fourth quarter.
But Joakim Noah is still an above-average defensive center and can effectively anchor the paint with help from Gibson. Newly acquired backup center Nazr Mohammed is not quite as good as Asik, but he is still an effective reserve center on the defensive end of the floor.
The addition of Kirk Hinrich and the loss of C.J. Watson immediately improves the Bulls perimeter defense against opposing guards. Watson struggled against athletic point guards last year, but Hinrich's ability to pressure the ball will be a huge plus.
Hinrich can also guard some shooting guards well, which will help minimize the loss of Ronnie Brewer, another excellent defender. Jimmy Butler will also help nullify Brewer's departure.
In addition, the Bulls have one of the best defensive small forwards in the game in Luol Deng. So even though Chicago has lost a few of their defensive weapons, they still have enough to remain in the top five in the NBA in team defense.