Defense isn’t one of those areas. The Bulls held opponents to just 92.9 points per game this season (third-best in the Association). That’s one of the main reasons they were able to succeed without Derrick Rose, who missed the entire campaign recovering from knee surgery.
As long as coach Tom Thibodeau is calling the shots, the Bulls will play gritty defense. That’s not an opinion; it’s a fact.
The Bulls are also fine when it comes to rebounding, as they ranked eighth in that department this year. The team has a pair of big men in Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer who are capable of grabbing 10 boards a night.
So what areas do executives Gar Forman and John Paxson need to address? Let’s take a look at three.
While the Bulls play suffocating defense, they struggled to put the ball in the hoop this year. The team ranked 29th in scoring with a measly 93.2 points per contest.
Rose’s absence had a lot to do with Chicago’s unremarkable scoring. Thankfully, next season we’ll see him sporting a Bulls uniform instead of street clothes.
When healthy, D-Rose is one of the league’s most dangerous scoring threats, as he has the ability to blow past defenders and finish at the rim with ease.
Rose averaged at least 20 points in each of his past three seasons, including a career-best 25 points in 2010-11.
Hopefully, he’ll be back to full strength and serve as the unstoppable weapon that he was before his devastating injury.
The Bulls need to find a way to land free agent Matt Barnes. Putting up a career-high 10.3 points per game for the Los Angeles Clippers this season, Barnes would surely help out in the scoring department.
Saying the Bulls need an outside shooter is clearly an understatement. This season, they shot only 35.3 percent from beyond the arc, ranking 21st in the league.
Adding a player who has shot over 40 percent from three-point range for their career would be ideal. Kyle Korver is one name that quickly comes to mind. The former Creighton star owns a career three-point percentage of 41.9 and shot a scorching 45.7 percent this season for the Atlanta Hawks.
Although his defense isn’t going to shut down anyone, Korver is undoubtedly an elite three-point specialist. He knocked down a whopping eight three-pointers versus the Boston Celtics back in January.
The Bulls would love to acquire a guy who can shoot a high percentage from the outside and play D, but those types of players are hard to come by.
Korver, who played for the Bulls from 2010-12, will be a free agent this summer. A return to the Windy City would help out immensely due to his ability to stretch the defense. C’mon GarPax, make this signing happen.
Fellow free agent Anthony Morrow would be a fabulous pickup as well.
The 6’5” shooting guard has shot 42.4 percent from downtown for his career. He shot an amazing 46.7 percent during his rookie year with the Golden State Warriors (2008-09).
Morrow would be a cheap replacement for Marco Belinelli if he isn’t retained by the Bulls during the offseason.
Finding a backup center for Joakim Noah is a must. Noah plays entirely too many minutes and needs a quality player who can give him a rest for roughly 15 minutes a game.
Nazr Mohammed played decent ball this year, but the 35-year-old isn’t the answer. The Bulls should go the young route and address the position via the draft, as they own the 20th overall pick.
While Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel and Maryland’s Alex Len will be off the board when it’s time for the Bulls to select, a few solid big men will still be available.
Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng should be the Bulls’ main draft target. The Senegalese big man enjoyed a great junior season, being named Big East Defensive Player of the Year and helping the Cardinals win a national title.
Dieng possesses a plethora of skills. He can rebound, block shots, pass from the high post and consistently hit the mid-range jumper.
Dieng is obviously a stellar defender, and that’s why he would be the perfect center in Chicago. Just imagine how Thibodeau could mold him into even a better defender.
Both Pittsburgh's Steven Adams and Kansas' Jeff Withey would make sense as well.
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