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- NBA Rank: 7
Conference Rank: 2
- Chicago Bulls
Every parent is at some time the father of the unreturned prodigal, with nothing to do but keep his house open to hope.John Ciardi
Since the lockout-shortened season, the Bulls have had a rough time. Derrick Rose hasn't been able to stay on the court. They've slowly traded away their killer depth. Boozer is a shadow of the player they gave that huge deal to. Last year they managed to fight their way into the second round before falling to the Heat. There's good news though: a healthy Derrick Rose could mean the Bulls are contenders again.
In 2011 the Bulls were as close to being a perfect team as you could ask for. Yet, despite winning the most games of any team in the league, they still fell to the Heat. Since then, the Bulls have made minor moves that have cost them good rotation players. Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, and Omer Asik have all left to help other teams. Then the injuries struck. Rose and Noah couldn't stay healthy and the Bulls couldn't advance in the playoffs. Last season, despite making it to the second round, the Bulls were pretty mediocre.
|Nate Robinson ||2086||29||.099||4.3|
|Marco Belinelli ||1882||27||.037||1.4|
|Richard Hamilton ||1088||35||-.067||-1.5|
|Louis Amundson ||2||30||-.145||0|
Indicates that the player is no longer with the team.
Noah and Butler were the rocks of this team. Both were bonafide but unappreciated stars. Deng was a workhorse, albeit an average one. Boozer played a lot but he's a different player from his Utah Days. The rest of the roster was pretty mediocre -- or in some cases terrible. As we like to point out, the playoffs give an edge to top heavy teams. As long as the Bulls have Noah and Butler, they're in decent shape. What if they got even more firepower?
|Derrick Rose ||1.0||3000||25||.167||10.5|
|Mike Dunleavy ||2.8||1188||33||.127||3.1|
|Mike James ||1.0||862||38||-.034||-.6|
|Tony Snell ||3.0||788||21||-.043||-.7|
|Erik Murphy ||4.0||665||23||-.020||-.3|
|Dexter Pittman ||1.0||32||25||-.229||-.2|
Indicates that the player is new to the team.
A healthy Rose could make all the difference in the world. Last year the Bulls were using Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli, and Rip Hamilton in their backcourt -- a lot! A backcourt of Rose and Butler with Noah crashing the boards is a sick combination. The rest of the team remains fairly mediocre. Getting Dunleavy was a wise decision, but at 33, he won't be making a major difference. Regardless, if Rose is back, then expect the Bulls to go far in the playoffs.
We use a lot of advanced tools to predict the future around here. The lesson we've learned is that predicting the future is hard. As Patrick loves to say, "Predicting injuries is a fool's errand!" We project Rose coming back at full strength, but that's a huge if. Without Rose, the Bulls are still a playoff team, but their fans don't want to hear that. The Bulls have come so close to greatness recently and anything less is disappointing. We think they can return there. Here's hoping Rose's health agrees.
The Second Opinion Patrick's Fingers are crossed
When I couldn't get Chris Paul, I paid a big chunk of change in the auction for Derrick Rose in our fantasy league. Other players mocked me, even as they eventually paid even more for Rajon Rondo! The fact is that anyone who tells you that they "know" that Rose is going to get hurt again, or not be his former self, is full of it. He's the same guy who "knows" that Apple's stock is going to keep going down, and "knows" that the economy is going to go up next week. Of course, he doesn't know, because if he did, he'd be on a private island somewhere, not spilling his beans to you in this bar over a pint.
People trying to predict the health of NBA rosters remind me of one of my favorite sayings about medicine: A doctor can look at a room of 100 people and tell you with relative certainty that 10 of them will get a certain type of cancer eventually -- but the doctor can't tell you which ones.
Note that injuries and age are different -- it's a safe bet to assume that a lot of Nets players will miss a lot of games. But I wouldn't make any bets about who will or will not sprain an ankle, tear a meniscus, or break a finger.
So, my Derrick Rose prediction is that he'll be the picture of health! Because, why worry about the stuff you can't control, right?