To my thinking the only good thing about the length of time it took to settle the NBA Lockout was that the Bulls were spared the circus road trip, a two week early season swing when Barnum and Bailey move into the United Center. Then after the players and owners stopped their silly staredown (yes, silly, they closed a 8 billion dollar gap to 100 million and stood at an impasse for months), and the schedule came out, I realized my optimism was misplaced. The Bulls would start the season on a four game California road trip. Furthermore they spend 20 of their first 33 on the road including a two week east coast trip in late January and early February.
The results of the first trip, the Bulls won three out of four games, bodes well for the rest of the season. The team didn’t play a complete game in any of the four, and in fact in the loss, a 99-91 tumble to Golden State, they looked like they were stuck in a parallel universe about two seconds behind their opponent. Through four games the Bulls are the #2 team in the Association in Offensive Efficiency, odd for a team that often struggled to score, but this may be a reflection of the poor defense offered by Sacramento and the Los Angeles Clippers than any sustainable trend. They currently rank 20th in Defensive Efficiency, a rating that given their roster and coach, also seems unsustainable.
The major concern going forward are the minutes played by Derrick Rose and Luol Deng. Each is logging more than 37 minutes per contest, and that probably is going to wear them down before the important part of the season begins in April.