By: Travis Thayer (@TheTravisThayer)
2012-13 Record: 45-37
Projected 2013-14 Finish: 2nd in the Central Division
Projected Starting Lineup
Derrick Rose, Derrick Rose, and Derrick Rose. That’s all anybody wants to talk about, and rightfully so. Mr. Rose is coming off a devastating ACL injury that keep him out all of last season. He teased everyone during last year’s playoffs, but he ultimately decided not to return until he was ready. Based on his performance so far in the preseason, he made the right decision. Rose looks as explosive as ever, and he has Bulls fans clamoring for another championship. The question everyone wants answered is, can the Bulls challenge the Heat? Yes, they can challenge the Heat, but challenging the Heat and beating the Heat are two different things. Time will tell if they can beat the Heat, but they will certainly challenge them. Derrick Rose is a scary player. He is easily a top five player in the league when healthy. He plays on a team that plays defense at a higher level than any team in the league, and that gives them a chance to win against any team. They have bigs in Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer who can bang, and Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler can contain some of the best players in the league. Their starting five is as good as any, but I’m not so sure Boozer or Deng makes it through the year in Chicago. Boozer (2 yrs left on contract) sort of redeemed himself last season for a sub par 2011-12 season, and his name is always brought up in trade talks. Deng might be the most likely to be traded though because he is in the last year of his contract and the Bulls really like Jimmy Butler. Deng could be used to strengthen the bench, and/or for more perimeter shooting. The Bulls should consider packaging both Deng and Boozer to the Hawks in return for Al Horford (college teammate of Joakim Noah) and John Jenkins or Lou Williams. The Bulls are going to be a great team regardless of making a move or not. They may choose to keep the band together for one more run considering their star player is back. One way or another, it’s going to be a fun season in Chicago – and they get their first crack at the champs on Tuesday night.