The playoff hopes of the Chicago Bulls rest firmly on the shoulders of Derrick Rose, however for this team to be competitive in the playoffs they need the bench and other starters just to step it up a notch like they did last year in their series with the Boston Celtics.
Rookie power forward Taj Gibson has to continue his stellar play and grab rebounds while also bringing that youth and energy to the squad, Brad Miller who has played brilliantly as a back up centre to Joakim Noah has to continue to play well off the bench and score more inside resulting hopefully in fouls on opposing big men.
Starting shooting guard Kirk Hindrich played well in last years series with the Celtics but back then he was a back up to Rose, whereas now he will be a starting shooting guard and will need to continue to play well in crunch time.
Joakim Noah has to overcome injuries and give us a series much like last year but hopefully even better, Joakim brings hustle to the squad sort of like Kevin Garnett does for Boston while grabbing rebounds, blocking shots and diving on lose balls.
Jennero Pargo will hopefully contribute well off the bench, assist the higher scoring guys on the team and give Derrick and Kirk well needed rest stops, Flip Murray will hopefully provide some outside shooting as well as any other type of scoring he cam think of will probably filling in for Kirk Hindrich at the shooting guard position, and finally newly acquired Acie Law may also provide some contributions off the bench.
Now to the two key players Luol Deng and Derrick Rose, Luol needs to fill in some of the missing baskets left by Ben Gordon and hopefully continue to rebound well and defend opposing small forwards (mainly Lebron), Derrick Rose on the other hand needs to continue to lead this team and become more vocal with his team mates, he also needs to continue driving into the lane, forcing defence to focus on him and thus allowing him to dish to his team mates inside and out.
In general I feel the chances of reaching the second round are good and hopefully the team can build up some momentum going into March and April if they can get up to veins the 5th seed they may play Boston and there could be an upset in the making. But until then we can only watch and hope.