5 Positive Signs from the Chicago Bulls' First Week
The Bulls own a not-so-championship-contender-like 1-2 record, losing to the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers while picking up a win over the New York Knicks. They lost to Miami by 12 points and somehow managed to blow a 20-point lead against the rebuilding Sixers.
But at least Alpha Dog Derrick Rose, who missed all of last season recovering from knee surgery, is now sporting a Bulls uniform rather than sitting on the bench wearing street clothes. A bit rusty thus far, the three-time All-Star will return to MVP form eventually. It's just going to take time until he finds his groove.
Chicago has outscored its opponents in the paint during each of its its three contests, which is certainly something to be proud of to start out.
Meanwhile, third-year swingman Jimmy Butler, who's known mostly for his defense, looked great versus the Heat with 20 points. That's a positive sign, right?
Hold up. How did the word "scoring" make a Bulls' "positive signs" slideshow? Chicago is averaging just 93.7 points per game, which is not a positive sign by any stretch of the imagination.
However, the Bulls' first-half scoring during the Sixers game was quite impressive. They outscored Philly, 64-49, after the first two quarters. Although they ended up losing, the Bulls showed they're capable of putting points on the board.
Luol Deng scored 20 points against the Sixers, and the Bulls will need him to have more nights like that while Rose must shake off the rust and return to the 25-point-per-game scorer he was in the past.
Chicago is one of the league's top defensive teams. If it can come up with more 64-point halves and actually win, the Bulls will be scary.
The Bulls are usually a solid rebounding team, and that has been the case so far this season.
They're in the top 10 among NBA teams in offensive, defensive and total rebounds per game. Chicago has outrebounded all three of its opponents to start this season.
Joakim Noah is leading the Bulls with an average of 11.7 boards a night. He did a nice Dennis Rodman impersonation against the Knicks, grabbing 15 rebounds in the victory despite only contributing six points.
The Bulls aren't elite when it comes to scoring, plus their defense hasn't been as suffocating as usual, but at least they can rebound with the best of them. That's a positive sign.
Derrick Rose Is Clutch
Derrick Rose has struggled mightily this season, averaging just 14.3 points, 4.3 assists and a whopping 5.7 turnovers per game. He's also shooting a very unpleasant 29 percent from the field.
While he isn't putting up his typical superstar numbers yet, the Bulls would be 0-3 without him. Rose came up with a game-winning floater versus the Knicks, causing the United Center crowd to erupt and proving that he's still clutch.
You can't help but laugh at Spike Lee, who looked like he was asking himself "Did D-Rose really just do this to my beloved Knicks?" Yes he did, Spike.
The basket clearly made up for his 7-of-23 shooting from the field that night. It also gave the Bulls hope that he can get the job done during the final seconds if they need him. Look for several more Rose game-winners as the season progresses.
Carlos Boozer could be amnestied next summer to help free up cap space for a major free agent like LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony.
Through three games this season, though, Boozer has played like he wants to stay in the Windy City for a while. He is averaging a team-leading 22.3 points and eight boards (second-best) while shooting 65.9 percent from the field.
The two-time All-Star was one of the few bright spots during Chicago's loss to Miami on opening night. Boozer scored a game-high 31 points and hit 13 of his 18 field-goal attempts.
After a decent 14-point effort versus the Knicks, Boozer put up 22 points and 10 rebounds in Philly.
Hopefully, Boozer can continue to serve as an offensive weapon. The Bulls, who rank only 20th in scoring, are going to need all the help they can get this season.
The Bulls have a chance to win it all this season if they can stay healthy. If you've followed the team over the last few years, you know that's a really big "if".
Derrick Rose, of course, missed all of last season after tearing his ACL during the 2012 playoffs. Luol Deng missed most of the last postseason and Joakim Noah battled painful plantar fasciitis. In addition, key reserves Taj Gibson and Kirk Hinrich also missed time due to injuries.
Fortunately, everybody is healthy right now for the Bulls. All five starters—Rose, Jimmy Butler, Deng, Carlos Boozer and Noah—have played in each of Chicago's three games this season, which has to make Chicago fans happy.
The Bulls might've won a title last year if Rose and the rest of the gang were in the lineup. Now that they actually are healthy, maybe championship No. 7 will come to Chicago this June.