State of the Bulls: Chicago Bulls Up and Down Week
The preseason is a constant crescendo, a building process to the regular season. With that, every game should be taken with a grain of salt. No win should be seen a precursor to regular season greatness and no loss a foreshadowing of impending doom. This past week the Bulls displayed the maddening ebb and flow of the preseason to a tee.
Results: Record: 1-2
W vs. Toronto Raptors - 109-90
L vs. Dallas Mavericks - 105-109
L @ Orlando Magic - 67-105
What We Learned: If the Bulls were a person, this week, they would have been institutionalized in the “Cuckoo’s Nest” with Jack Nicholson and crew. A schizophrenic week began with Tuesday’s 109-90 win over the Raptors, where the Bulls easily dispatched of the now Andrea Bargnani lead (yeah, I know what a joke) Raptors. A strong effort on Thursday, a 109-105 loss, was highlighted by Derrick Rose’s buzzer beating 3-pointer. But the week ended on a sour note in Friday’s 105-67 beat down in Orlando.
So what is there to take from such an uneven week? Well, it seems more questions have been raised then answered.
What is apparent is that Derrick Rose has clearly taken the next step to super stardom. Captain Obvious over here, yes I know. But even after Rose’s great playoff series against Cleveland, his stellar performance in the World Championships, and another summer to mature and work on his game, it was no given that Rose would come back a super star. And while it is only preseason, count me sold on Derrick Rose - the elite NBA player. Besides the obvious improvements of an improved jumper and defensive acumen, Rose has become a more decisive player. When he comes off screens, there is no east and west movement, everything has been north and south. This attack mentality puts more pressure on defenses and is leading to a more product version of Derrick Rose then we have ever previously seen. Mark this as a huge development, for after losing out on LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, Rose’s growth and development will be the only thing to get the Bulls anywhere near sniffing a championship ring.
A less sexy, but still vital development for the Bulls has been the play of journeymen Keith Bogans. The eight year veteran, Bogans was signed in the off-season for his leadership and locker room presence, but has shown he may be much more then another assistant coach. Starting with the injury to Ronnie Brewer, Bogans, not Kyle Korver as expected, was inserted in the starting line-up. This past week Bogans excelled, showing his ability to defend the perimeter and knock down open jump shots. With Brewer recovering from a sore hamstring, Bogans most likely will return to his reserve role, but has proven he can be a serviceable piece for the Bulls moving forward.
Not everything came up roses for the Bulls, as they showed they still have a long way to go in mastering Tom Thibodeau’s defensive scheme. In both losses the Bulls gave up a substantial amount of points in the paint and allowed over 100 points. It is clear this is by no means a finished product.
What’s Next: The last week of preparation for the regular season begins as the Bulls once again face off against the Raptors on Wednesday and finish the preseason Friday, against the Indiana Pacers at the United Center. T-minus six days till they tip it off for real.
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