Love them or hate them; NBA fans and bettors could not help but feel sorry for the Chicago Bulls last season as they lost Derrick Rose in the playoffs. How are the Bulls looking for the upcoming season, and are NBA odds makers giving them a prayer at a title?
Chicago Bulls in basketball purgatory featuring a ‘Renta-Bench Mob’ in
rematch from the 2010-2011 NBA Eastern Conference Finals couldn’t take place
last season, as the one true challenger to the Miami Heat and their dominance in the East were the
Chicago Bulls. In the very first game of the very first round, Derrick Rose was
trying to cap off a Game 1 win, when the jump stop from hell reared it’s head.
One of Rose’s signature moves came back to haunt him, as he tore his ACL.
While it is no longer a death sentence in the sporting world, it is one of the
most physically painful and tough injuries a human can encounter. It can take
months and even years to fully recover from one. In Rose’s case, it seems being
only 23 years-old helps in a human body’s recovery time, but even if Rose is
ahead of schedule, the Bulls are going to take zero risks with their franchise
player, and it has shown with their offseason moves.
last two seasons, the Bulls have had a terrific defensive lineup, and with the
offensive power of Rose, Chicago won a lot of games. One of their main defensive
weapons was their bench; a long, talented and big unit that gave even the Heat
trouble. It is all a distant memory now.
their hand was forced. Restricted free agency hit, and immediately, the Rockets
offered Omer Asik a $25 million contract. Asik was a back up center who
averaged 15 minutes per game in 2011-2012. With the Bulls already high into the
cap, they had no choice but to let him walk. But Asik was just the first
the big fella, CJ Watson was released, as was Ronnie Brewer, followed by the
trade of Kyle Korver to Atlanta. They still have Taj Gibson, who is due for an
extension or a match in the restricted free agency market in 2013, but other than
him, they are all gone.
a new crop for the Bulls, who will be holding down the fort until Rose is
ready. Most of these guys will not be with the Bulls longer than a season, so I
have dubbed them, “The Renta-Bench.”
first guy however, is not a rental, as he is signed for multiple years. Kirk
Hinrich makes his return to Chicago, to hold down the point guard spot while
Rose is rehabbing. He was also brought in to mentor rookie Marquis Teague into
an eventual full-time back up role.
“Rent-a-Bench Mob,” will have Marco Belinelli in the swing man role, Nazr
Mohammed as the back up to Joakim Noah, and none other than the three time slam
dunk champion, Nate Robinson as a combo guard.
Butler, the Bulls’ rookie last season, will slide into the role occupied by
Ronnie Brewer, and while he might still be a little raw, he impressed in Summer
League, and I think he will be a hell of an NBA defender in years to come.
NBA futures Odds this season are still around +1200 in most places, which puts
them behind only the Lakers, Thunder and Heat as favorites to win the title in
2013. They are also tied with the Spurs. While I don’t give them much of a
chance to win it, if they can stay in the top four in the Eastern Conference,
and then get Rose back for a tune up month before the playoffs, they could very
well surprise everyone.
The question of when Rose returns is a hard one. If the Bulls are still doing
somewhat well, we could see him back this season with around 18 games to go.
However, if the Bulls are not doing well, I could see a BIG tank coming on this
season for Chicago.
Getting Rose healthy is the number one concern, but shedding serious cap
space like Carlos Boozer’s contract is another. Things are either going to go
really well, considering, or very bad this season for the Bulls. While I think
I have to fall short of saying 2012-2013 is lost for the Bulls, they are in
much better shape for the following season in more ways than one.