The New Year is here, and the Chicago Bulls are going to need some help if they want to make 2009 count.
They are in trouble in many different ways: They are inconsistent, they still lack a big man and, most importantly, they need defense.
Their troubles have been felt throughout the season, as their defense has cost them so many games. The headline at ChicagoBulls.com reads, "Bulls Tripped up by Magic" which is a headline that cannot be further from the truth.
After losing four of the past five games, the Magic stomped on the Bulls' unconscious body that had been beaten over the past few games.
Derrick Rose continued his inconsistent ways by scoring just 11 points and contributing no assists. Joakim Noah was the only bright spot, which shows just how dismal the night was.
The Bulls have allowed the opposing team to score over 100 points 19 times this season so far, going 6-13 in those games. The Bulls allow, on average, 102.9 PPG, the fifth highest amount among all NBA teams.
Their defense has been faltering even worse as of late, as the Bulls have allowed 107 PPG over the past 10 games.
Usually one of the best in the league in FG percent against, the Bulls have allowed the 11th highest FG percentage this season.
The offense has helped this season, and is the only thing that is keeping the Bulls winning games. At 100 PPG, the Bulls score the 11th highest amount of PPG, yet they are still 18th in FG percentage this season. They are also 21st in point differential.
At 14-18, the Bulls are in desperate need of defense, no team can allow almost 103 PPG and still think that they have a chance to compete night in and night out.
The problem rests solely on the personnel that the Bulls have to use, however, and is by no way a fault of head coach Vinny Del Negro in my opinion.
Although they have a good defensive matchup at PG, the Ben Gordon is a horrible matchup at the 2. Being so small, Gordon is in no way able to defensively hold down a competent shooting guard.
But the biggest reason that the Bulls are so bad on defense is that they have no real big man to hold down the paint. Both Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas have been big disappointments because of their incompetence against big players.
For example, although Dwight Howard scored just 15 points last night against the Magic, he was also able to grab more rebounds than anybody else in the game, with 14, dominating the boards.
The Bulls have also been lacking when it comes to rebounds. Most big men try to have 10 rebounds a game, but Noah and Thomas combine for just 11, not the production you want out of your two inside players.
Just to ram the point home about these two being bad, they combine for just 12.1 PPG, just an average amount for a single player.
If the Bulls want to have any success this season, they need to finally work on their defense, and to do that, they need to work on their personnel. Without a competent big man, the Bulls are going to be unable to have success this season.
I'm Joe W.
Information for this article was used from NBA.com and ESPN.com