The Chicago Bulls have offloaded some key players from last seasons roster, more notably Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, and Joakim Noah, however, the acquisitions of Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo have added some depth to the teams’ front-court. There are many who believe the Bulls will fall short of the playoffs this season, however, I believe this team is mildly underrated, and here are several reasons why.
1. The homecoming of Dwyane Wade could pay dividends
This subject has been flying a bit under the radar in my opinion as Dwyane Wade always seems to do. In 2006, when the heat made their first title run with Wade, everyone seemed to think it was because of Shaquille O’Neal, however, many people forget that it was Wade who was the 2006 NBA Finals MVP averaging an absurd 34.7 points a game. Then a few years later LeBron James goes to South Beach and the Heat advance to 4 consecutive NBA Finals, winning two in a row and LeBron arguably is the only player to receive any credit.
I’m not saying LeBron wasn’t the best player on the team or in the world, however, Wade performed his job all four years continuing to consistently average roughly 20 points per game, five rebounds, five assists, and one steal –not bad numbers considering how star studded that Heat team was. Now Wade has decided to go to his hometown where he wants to be and is looking to win. His knees might be the only thing holding him back but considering the fact that he played in 74 of 82 games last season, and is averaging 16 points, four rebounds, and four assists through the first three games of the season, it seems as if “the flash” will settle in just nicely in Chi-Town.
2. The Marquette Connection
I touched on the first Marquette alum (Wade) who is going to be a huge asset to this team. Now lets briefly discuss the other star. The 27-year old was drafted by the bulls with the 30th pick in the 2011 draft. His breakout campaign didn’t come until the 14-15’ season where he seemingly came out of nowhere posting 20 points a game and leading his team all the way to the Eastern Conference semi-finals. Since then he has done nothing but the same and now that Rose is gone for good and a lot more talent has been brought into surround him, don’t be surprised if Jimmy Butler puts up MVP numbers in what could be the prime of his career.
3. The Bulls Have Made Some Sneaky Good Acquisitions
The Bulls front office made a lot of moves during the off-season, the biggest obviously being Wade coming home but here are a few others key transactions that I think are solid :
Traded G Tony Snell to the Milwaukee Bucks for G Michael Carter-Williams
I like this trade because people forget MCW is a 6’6 point guard who has proved through his career he can score, pass, rebound, and defend. His only problem is staying healthy which may be a concern, but I think he will give the Bulls viable minutes off the bench.
Signed Rajon Rondo to a 2 year contract
There are a lot of Rondo haters out there but regardless of how big a jerk he is the guy is an exceptional passer and the Bulls have enough scorers to finish his pretty assists.
Drafted and Signed Denzel Valentine
The guy was a stud in college and at one point was highly projected to win the John Wooden Award. I don’t know what the NBA has in store for him but I am very curious to find out.
4. Fred Hoiberg will get the best out of his team
In 2010, Fred Hoiberg took over an Iowa State basketball program that hadn’t posted a winning season since 2005. It took him just one season to turn this program around going .500 his first year then 23-11 with an NCAA tournament berth in his second. He would go on to make the NCAA tournament every other year he coached the Cyclones. Now I’m not promising history is going to repeat itself but the Bulls ended the year as a sub .500 team last year in his first year as coach, but could he transform this team into a playoffs contender?