Coming off a stellar season which included achieving the best record in the NBA and having the leagues MVP in Derrick Rose, the Chicago Bulls still have plenty of room for improvement and even areas that are a cause for concern.
Let’s take a look at the positives going into the upcoming season. First of all, it is hard to say how much better Derrick Rose will be this year, but judging on his improvement in each of his first three years going from Rookie of the Year to an All-Star reserve to an All-Start starter and Most Valuable Player of the NBA. After obtaining the leagues highest individual accomplishment, it is time for DRose to master his all-around game by solidify his outside shooting, developing somewhat of a post-up game, becoming a lockdown defender and getting even better at the free throw line.
In Rose’s first two seasons, Rose was a combined 32-132 (about 24%) from the 3-point line, however last season he was able to bump that number up to just above 33%. I would consider it a success if he can stay around the 37-39% range for this season. Another important area that could use improvement is his low-post game. While he wouldn’t use it a whole lot, it will definitely help his versatility, especially for isolation plays. There is no doubt that he is one of the most athletic players in the NBA, so I don’t see any reason why he can’t become one of the league’s best defenders. If I was Rose, my goal would be to try to win the Defensive Player of the league this season. Finally I think if he can get his free throw percentage around 90% (85% last season) he would easily average close to 30 points in the regular season. After winning the MVP he will now get the “superstar” calls from the refs, finding him self at the charity stripe more often.
The area that I believe the Bulls have the most room for improvement, which will definitely be argued by most people, is the power forward position and Carlos Boozer. Yes, he was awful in the playoffs and he does not play much defense, but despite his below average season last year, I think he will be above his career average of 20 ppg and 10 rpg this season. Of course the biggest factor to this will be whether or not Boozer can stay healthy, but last year in the playoffs he was playing with a torn tendon in his foot, preventing any sort of explosion which is why he got blocked by the other team or the rim, every time he tried to dunk. There have been many reports suggesting that Boozer has been working extremely hard this off-season to get back to the level he was at prior to last season.
Where Bulls fans should have the most concern is the shooting guard debacle. Right now the Bulls have three different shooting guards, each possessing one stand out tool, which makes it frustrating that they can’t fuse into one player. Korver is one of if not the best spot up 3-point shooter in the NBA right now, Ronnie Brewer is long, athletic and runs the baseline very well and Bogans is a solid shooter and showed signs of being a lockdown defender throughout the season. Most Bulls fans, myself included, want the Bulls to bring in a new shooting guard. If I could choose from the list of unrestricted free agents, I would choose Jason Richardson in a heartbeat. He’s a great shooter, athletic and solid defender making him the best available sidekick for DRose.
This season will be a fast and insane run to the playoffs but it will definitely be thrilling to avid NBA fans. It will be interesting to see how it pans out for the Bulls.