Those that love and follow the NBA may be sleeping on the Chicago Bulls, especially considering that Derrick Rose will miss a large chunk of the 2012-13 season due to injury. That is why the Bulls will shock everyone when they are still elite even without their MVP point guard.
One thing that the Bulls have built over the years is a very talented defensive squad that shares the ball and emphasizes stopping the opponent over outscoring them. Teams that are built that way tend to win because of their teamwork and balance.
Joakim Noah also thinks the Bulls will be good without Rose.
“A lot people are sleeping on us,” Noah told WSCR in Chicago in an interview. “[We have] dealt with a lot of adversity…but [we’re] hungrier than ever.”
Noah is right about his team. It has faced adversity, which is what makes it so dangerous. Even without Rose, this team is good enough to beat almost every team in the NBA, and it has the experience necessary to overcome the problems it will have.
New Faces Are Still Good Ones
The Bulls have gone through a lot, including losing many of their bench players and having a basically brand new second unit. Of the bench players likely to get regular playing time, five of were not with the team last season.
Any team would have reason to be worried with that kind of roster upheaval, but the Bulls can breathe easy because the new players they have are good ones. Kirk Hinrich will be the backup point guard and starter while Rose is out. He was the most important offseason acquisition for this team, as he is familiar with the team and falls in line perfectly with their defensive attitude.
The other new faces are also good ones. Marco Belinelli played well in New Orleans last season, proving himself to be a good outside and free-throw shooter. Nazr Mohammed is over-the-hill, but he does have a championship ring and has only been an asset everywhere he has gone. Nate Robinson is the wild card in this situation, but he has the potential to fill the spark plug scoring role off the bench.
The Core is Intact
Another reason the Chicago Bulls will win without Rose is their surviving core of players. Despite the players they lost in the offseason, the core group that has helped this team win so many games over the last few years is still there minus Rose.
Carlos Boozer may be overpaid, but very few teams have a power forward that they can count on for 15 points and eight rebounds night in and night out. Joakim Noah will remain the defensive backbone on this team, and it looks like he will have more to offer on the offensive end as well. Richard Hamilton’s first year in Chicago was a rough one, but he will be a major contributor if he can stay healthy. He will prove this season that he is still the player that helped lead the Detroit Pistons to a title almost a decade ago.
Taj Gibson will continue to bring energy off the bench. Gibson is one of the more athletic players on this Bulls team, and he is a big part of their defensive intensity.
he X factor though is Luol Deng, who is the second-biggest star on this team and will be the biggest while Rose is out. He averaged 15.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists last season, and he will answer the call to be the No. 1 guy while Rose is out.
This core group has won more games than almost any other over the last few seasons. That will not change, even while Derrick Rose is out.
The Replacement is More than Capable
Something more has to be said about Kirk Hinrich as the replacement for Derrick Rose during the first part of the season. The 31-year-old guard is a veteran and knows this Bulls team better than any other player the team could have brought in.
Hinrich has all the skills necessary to lead this Bulls team. He has nine years of NBA experience, with the first seven spent in Chicago. He has played in the playoffs and has played both as a starter and a bench player. The Bulls needed a player who could do all of that, making Hinrich the perfect choice.
Defensively, Hinrich also fits in very well. He has been known primarily for his defensive impact over anything else throughout his career. The Bulls need a leader to help them through Rose’s absence, and Hinrich is the perfect one for them because he shares their values and understands the situation.
The Chicago Bulls are one of the NBA’s best teams. Derrick Rose is their leader and best player, but he is not the whole team. The team has been built to win, and it will do so this season, before and after Rose comes back. A talented bench, winning core and solid replacement are the reasons why.