So much was expected from the Chicago Bulls at the start of the 2015 NBA season, and the hiring of coach Fred Hoiberg in replacement for Tom Thibodeau to supposedly bring a “change in approach” intrigued Bulls fans. But it turned out to be a tough season, as Hoiberg struggled to make their pieces gel. Plus, a major rift developed between their new coach, Joakim Noah, and Jimmy Butler.
The 2016-2017 preview for the Bulls looks so much brighter now with key changes made to their roster, especially with the addition of Dwyane Wade. It’s only a matter now of getting their talents to work together, and improving their chemistry.
Chicago Bulls Roster/Depth Chart
Point Guards: Spencer Dinwiddie, Jerian Grant, Rajon Rondo
Shooting Guards: Jimmy Butler, Isaiah Canaan, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Denzel Valentine, Dwyane Wade, Thomas Walkup, Paul Zipser
Small Forwards: Vince Hunter, Doug McDermott, Tony Snell
Power Forwards: J.J. Avila, Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotić, Bobby Portis
Centers: Cristiano Felício, Robin Lopez
Key losses: Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, Mike Dunleavy Jr.
Key addition/s: Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo
While the Chicago Bulls failed to land in the playoffs last season, which was the first time to happen in the last seven years, this season they have more reason to be excited. The direction of their game will be in stable hands with Rajon Rondo, who’s undoubtedly talented, and with experience being an NBA champion.
Another source of inspiration is Dwyane Wade who’s proven himself over the years to be a dependable scorer, and passionate athlete, which they hope to lead, and lift up their spirits, especially with the young guys in the roster who need to step up.
It will be interesting to see Jimmy Butler share his leadership role with Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo. We also hope his beef with Fred Hoiberg is finally put to rest.
The future looks bright for the newly transformed Bulls, and they’re expected to make it to the playoffs again, and even stick around a bit longer.
Key stats in the league from last season
The Bulls stats last season were quite average, which is a testament to their 42-40 season record. However, they had monumental performances for having won 6 straight wins in spite of their internal conflicts with their new coach. It only shows us a glimpse of what they are capable of, albeit rocked with inconsistency.
Key Weakness For Upcoming Season: Leadership, untested teamwork
It is worth noting that while they do have a talented line up this upcoming season, they’re still untested as a team. However, to let go of potential disputes, right from the outset of the trade Dwyane Wade made it openly known that the Bulls remains Jimmy Butler’s team, and that he’s just happy to play back up, and to provide veteran leadership.
Coach Fred Hoiberg needs to strengthen his resolve and control his players. He was criticized for this weakness last season, for not being “tough enough”, and there could still be some bitterness between the two.
Prediction: The Bulls will do well all throughout the season, although they may struggle a bit from the start. They are expected to be able to deal with the pressure because of their veteran leaders, and there’s no question at all that they do have the talents needed in their roster. Coach Fred Hoiberg is expected to do better this year, after learning from his mistakes during his second year, and he’s getting a ton of help with the positive influence of Wade. The Bulls seem destined to get back to the playoffs in the 2016-2017 NBA season.
Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons