The 2013-2014 Chicago Bulls are looking to take the next step as they open the season tonight in Miami. That next step? The NBA Finals. There is only one spotlight on the Bulls tonight, and that is on the former MVP of the NBA, Derrick Rose.
Rose is out for revenge. He wants the ball and he wants to score. Not just on anyone, but you specifically. Rose will play in his first regular season game in over a year and I would like to send a public service message out to the league: CAUTION, DEFEND AT OWN RISK.
I could write about Rose all day, but if the Bulls want to make it to a NBA Finals, he needs help.
Let’s take a look at how the Bulls can reach the top, position by position.
Rose is obviously the Bulls best player and leader of the offense, but when he leaves for a breather, veteran Kirk Hinrich needs to steady the ship. Hinrich was beat up last year and looks to be hurting coming into this season as well. In 60 games last season, he averaged 7.7 points and 29.4 minutes per game. Hinrich and guard Marquis Teague will have to play significant minutes to help this team stay fresh. Veteran Mike James is also on the roster if Teague shows no improvement.
At the two spot, Jimmy Butler has been hyped to have a breakout season, and he needs to for this Bulls team to make a run come summer time. Butler averaged 8.6 points per game but shot a high percentage from the field (46.7). Butler will have to find his roll next to Rose and also be able to create his own shots during spells where Rose is not in the game or shooting poorly. The Bulls brought in veteran Mike Dunleavy to fill a much needed knock down shooter roll. Last season for the Bucks, Dunleavy shot more than 40 percent from behind the arc, which will be great for Rose to be able to drive and kick out if needed.
This group really needs to gel with Rose and find ways to get everyone involved. The guards need to find a mix of scoring and managing to make sure the offense doesn’t fall all on one person.
This group is almost the same as last year. Carlos Boozer, Loul Deng and Joakim Noah all know their duties. This group all averaged double digits in the point’s column last season and will need to repeat that and more moving forward. Taj Gibson will also have to play heavy minutes off the bench this year with an aging Nazr Mohammed and a beat up Noah. Gibson will surly have to average close to a double-double to grind out close regular season games.
The new comers to this group are two rookies; Tony Snell from New Mexico and Erik Murphy from Florida. Snell is a 6-7 forward that averaged more than 12 points his senior year. He can catch and shoot very well and gives some solid defense. Murphy also averaged more than 12 points per game and at 6-10, averaged more than five boards a game. He also can stroke from downtown.
It will be interesting to see how Tom Thibodeau distributes minutes this season to prepare the Bulls to make a deep run into the summer. This team is more than capable to win more than 50 games and be a high seed come playoff time.
Once again, Derrick Rose means business. All he wants to do is win and he won’t leave Chicago to get that done. The road to the finals will take the Bulls through Miami and it starts tonight.