2012 NBA Predictions: Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls
The Bulls made a statement in 2011 by clinching the top seed in the East. Although they fell short to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, they showed that they will be a contender for years to come.
Just like any off-season, it is time for teams to reflect on the previous season and find areas to improve. The good thing for Chicago is there isn't much that needs to be done.
For the most part the Bulls have a young core of players who are still getting better by the game, but if they want to get to the next level they will have to make a few adjustments.
Critics still question if this run was legit or not, next season they will find out the Bulls are for real.
Experience and meshing will be the key to the team's success next year, but let's look at how they will fare overall.
Carlos Boozer Will Find His Form in Chicago
Carlos Boozer showed in Utah that he was one of the better big men in basketball. Unfortunately, it hasn't translated in Chicago yet.
Boozer still put up good numbers in 2011, but he often found himself on the bench or irrelevant during big game situations.
Boozer is a big man who can spread the floor with his mid range jumper, along with being a top rebounder in the league. He's not the greatest shot blocker, but he fills lanes well and knows how to play team defense.
They Will Acquire a Starting Shooting Guard
I recently wrote an article about the free agent shooting guard options for the Chicago Bulls.
Keith Bogans is a serviceable guard, but truth be told he's someone that needs to have a bench role. At the same time, none of the other options on the Bulls really stepped up to challenge for the starting job.
Even if they decide to go to the trading block for some help, it's certain they must make a move.
Plenty of good names could be open for trade, including Vince Carter, Kevin Martin, or maybe even Brandon Roy.
The draft pick of Jimmy Butler is a solid one, but he wont have an immediate impact for the contenders.
The Bulls are in need for a second scoring option. Why not kill two birds with one stone by securing a scoring shooting guard?
Ronnie Brewer and Taj Gibson Will Be Important Role Players
Taj Gibson watched his minutes drop in his second year in the league, but still put together good numbers.
In 21 minutes last year, Gibson averaged 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds a game. He is also a key player in the dominant Bulls' defense, averaging a blocked shot per game.
Gibson brings a lot of ability and potential, and if used right can be the team's true sixth man.
Ronnie Brewer is a player that is adjusting to a bench role after starting in Utah. While he is also a player that had his minutes lowered, he didn't play to the caliber he is capable of.
Maybe it was bad shot selection or he's just not comfortable yet, but Brewer will figure out his game in Chicago.
If so, the Bulls might have their shooting guard answer already on the team.
Chicago Will Grab a Veteran Big Man
Of course Derrick Rose was the MVP of the Bulls' squad, but Kurt Thomas could have been the most important role player on the team.
The 38-year-old veteran started 37 of his 52 games with the Bulls, filling in nice for the injured Joakim Noah.
While he didn't put up amazing stats, he brought a lot of effort to the front court, along with some key minutes down the stretch.
While getting up there in age and experience, Kurt Thomas might opt to retire with the lockout lurking.
There are plenty of big men in the free agent class that would love to sign the veteran league minimum in order to win a championship. If the Bulls' decide to look into that they could always use the depth at the center or power forward position.
Derrick Rose Will Not Repeat as MVP
The youngest MVP in NBA history, Rose was the true meaning of the award last year. He was instrumental in leading his team through the playoffs, and while hitting a bump in the road, he will only learn from that.
Chicago had a breakout year in 2011, and the ceiling is high for this team. Rose will of course be at the core of the group next season.
Rose will improve as a player in his fourth year and make the Bulls better, but there is a guy named Kevin Durant who will win his first MVP award.
The Bulls Will Not Win 60 Games
The 2011 season witnessed the Bulls win a league best 62 games. As good as that sounds it's not likely to happen again.
The Bulls will most likely make some moves to bring a few new pieces in, but the problem is that the East has some teams that are also improving.
Chicago ran through the East with ease last year, but next year it's most likely going to be a top heavy conference with a few scrappy teams.
They will not sweep the Heat in the regular season, and odds are they will face a few upsets.
The Bulls will be among the top talented teams in the league, but they will grab the second seed in the playoffs.
Chicago Will Be Eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals
As talented as the Bulls are, the truth is the Heat are the favorites to win the East. Chicago will show improvements as a team, but so will Miami.
While having the ability to beat the Heat, this just isn't the year. The good news is the Bulls could have the better future ahead for them, but as of now it's Miami's conference to win.
Stay tuned for the good news Bulls' fans.
Derrick Rose Will Sign a Contract Extension
Don't worry Bulls' fans, we will not see "The Decision Part Two" with Derrick Rose, he is in Chicago for the long haul.
Rose campaigned to end up in Chicago when the choice was up to him or Michael Beasley, and it has been a success so far.
Chicago's management has been active in building the best team possible around Rose, and that will be highly noted in Rose's choice to stay.
The Bulls are among the top teams for title contention this year. The even better news is that if Rose stays Chicago can guarantee themselves their first championship since the Jordan era.