October 22, 2015 Louisville, KY (Analyzed Sports)
Chicago Bulls 2015-2016 NBA Preview
The Chicago Bulls thought they had built a championship team. Each year they were contenders but never could get over the hump. A new star rose to the spotlight as a new era begins for the Bulls. The thought of Jimmy Butler being a max contract player seemed outrageous. Jimmy made his first All Star team, winning the Most Improved Player award and signed a five-year, $94 million contract with Chicago. Now that he’s locked up for the long term, Butler is on a new mission. He has to prove last year wasn’t a fluke.
This year he steps into a leadership role. The heart of the team is Joakim Noah. The soul of the Bulls is Derrick Rose. Pau Gasol is the savvy vet. Tom Thibodeau is no longer at the helm. Fredrick Kristian “Fred” Hoiberg takes over from Iowa State. He’ll need one central voice that has the grit and edge to spark energy into the team and Jimmy may be it.
Last season, Chicago finished second in the Central division, behind the Cleveland Cavaliers as the No. 3 seed in the East. The Bulls defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in the first-round before coming up short in the second round against the Cavs. The concern of the Bulls was never defensive. Thibodeauis lead the team in the top three in the NBA in defense four times in five years. But putting the ball in the basket was the problem. The Bulls ranked in the bottom third on offense. Fred Hoiberg led Iowa State Cyclones to the 15th-ranked offense in the nation last year.
Butler might play some point guard. “If he’s out there with Derrick, Derrick can be a lane-runner while Jimmy pushes it down the floor,” Hoiberg said. “Getting him in live ball-screen situations, whether it’s setting a back screen into a ball screen, anytime you get Jimmy with a live dribble into a ball screen, good things happen.”
In the past, it was Derrick Rose against the world. That’s no longer the case. If Derrick is Batman, then the Bulls have a Robin. Jimmy is one of the best shooting guards in the league. After years of hard work he transformed himself into a 20-point scorer, this takes more pressure off Rose. As always concerns about Derrick’s ability to stay on the court arise. The question is always health with the Bulls. If they remain healthy, they have what it takes to make a deep playoff run.
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