Outlook for Bulls not very promising

By Ryan Dixon

Just play Derrick Rose every minute of every game. That’s my answer this year for the Chicago Bulls. Everyone wants to see the 20-year-old point guard anyway, so you can’t go wrong with giving the fans what they want.

But seriously, what kind of team are the Bulls this year? Expectations were sky high entering last season. Many “experts” picked Chicago to go deep into the playoffs. In case you forgot, the Bulls finished 33-49, which was good enough for 11th place in the Eastern Conference. Yes, the Eastern Conference, where it’s nearly impossible to NOT make the playoffs. The same conference where the Atlanta Hawks received a hard-earned No. 8 seed at 37-45.

Last year was hard to swallow for Bulls fans, and for TNT whenever ithad Chicago slated as one of the games of the week. Unfortunately, I think this year will be more of the same.

The Bulls, for what seems like the 17th consecutive season, failed to add or draft a legitimate inside scorer. No, Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah and Drew Gooden are not answers. I’m talking about athletes with the talent of a Kevin Garnett, Pau Gasol or even Chris Bosh.

But at least Chicago will have an experienced head coach manning the ship. Crap. Vinny Del Negro, who has zero head coaching experience, will be leading the leaderless Bulls this season. I’m starting to think the Blackhawks will be seeing larger crowds at the United Center.

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Maybe Del Negro is planning on using an all-backcourt offense. After all, the current roster contains five good-to-decent guards. A few of them are going to have to eat some humble pie though, including Ben Gordon and Larry Hughes. Ben, you’re a solid scorer … sometimes. And you’re not going to be a starter. I’m sorry, but it’s true. So realize that the Bulls are not going to pay you like an All-Star. So, know your role – a bona fide sixth man.

The Chicago Bulls have plenty of pretty pieces. The key will be getting them to play together, which is easier said than done. I feel like the Bulls have a lot of individuals on the team. This can be a good or a bad thing. Positively spun, there is no standout performer who will be leading the Bulls in scoring every night. Negatively spun, the current roster includes many average basketball players. There’s minimal glitz and glamour to this squad.

But now that Rose will be handling the rock most of the year (knock on wood), maybe he can be the catalyst to propel Chicago into the playoffs.

I predict that Chicago will sneak into the postseason this year. At best, the Bulls can snag a No. 6 seed. There are just too many solid teams looking down from the top of the conference. The Celtics, Pistons, Magic and Cavaliers have shown they’ll be there come playoff time. The Bulls find themselves in the up-and-coming echelon of the Eastern Conference. Other teams at this level, like Philadelphia, Miami, Toronto and New Jersey, are a bunch of wild cards. Chicago, like these other teams, could surprise a few fans and critics. Unfortunately, in order to get to the promised land, they’ll have to go through the defending champion Boston Celtics.

Ryan Dixon is a senior in Media. Reach him at [email protected].