Sports: Getting a Grip on the Chicago Bulls 2012-2013 Season

As both a fan (born in Chicago in 1960) and an analyst (NBA column in the NY Sun from 2003-2008), I find no team’s upcoming season as hard to predict as the Chicago Bulls.

I think given his druthers, Team President Gar Forman would like a team that plays hard every night but finishes just out of the playoff picture putting the Bulls in the lottery giving them a solid chance to add an impact player to a 2013-14 team built around a fully recovered Derrick Rose (he’s missing the first 2/3 of the season after knee surgery) plus Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler, Marquis Teague, Euro-stashie, Nikola Mirotic (a sweet shooting power forward whose arrival will mean that Carlos Boozer will meet the Amnesty clause), and whatever impact player the 2013 draft yields.

What will get in the way of that aim is that the rules dictate that eight teams participate in the Eastern Conference playoffs and I’m just not sure there’s a way that these Bulls can finish ninth or lower.  They’ll be without D-Rose for most of the season, but we’re talking about a group that went 18-9 without him last season.  The conventional wisdom is that this year’s Rose-less team isn’t as good as last years.  I agree that Omer Asik’s departure hurts the bench D, but the Bulls “Bench Mob” for the last two seasons has been one of the best defensive units in the history of NBA.  They can decline a bit without causing too much pain to the team’s W-L record.  New Bulls like Marco Bellinelli and Vladimir Radmanovich aren’t anyone’s idea of defensive aces, but neither were former Bulls Kyle Korver and CJ Watson,.  In other words, it’s probably coach Tom Thibodeau’s schemes, not necessarily the players (though Gibson is an exception) that have built the Bulls extraordinary D.   I think the Bulls will still have a top five defense and that alone will win them enough games to finish among the Eastern top eight.

But where?  The Eastern Conference has three teams that are heads and shoulders above the rest: the Miami Heat, the Boston Celtics, and the Indiana Pacers.  The rest is a jumble.  Brooklyn’s fine as long as their frontcourt starter’s health holds up.  Ditto Atlanta.  I have trouble seeing the Rose-less Bulls finishing behind either the 76ers or the Knicks.  Philadelphia is thin in the backcourt and the Knicks are old and brittle.  In other words, I could see the Bulls vying for the 4th seed when Rose comes back in February or so.  They could be a dangerously under-seeded playoff team whose postseason serves notice for 2013-14.

I think that would make Forman happy too.  It certainly would warm Thibodeau’s heart.  But that might just be the fan in me overtaking the analyst.

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About jmartin437

I've worked in and around the world of high end cheese for 27 years. I've been everything from a department manager who hired and fired and trained staffs to a weekend warrior who shows up ties on an apron the middle of a rush and talks to customers and cleans up the place. I enjoy it all, and I especially like my current situation conducting informal seminars about cheese at area bars and in class at the 92nd St. Y. The current schedule is always up at thejoyofcheese.blogspot.com. In addition I conduct private events that are perfect to lead off birthday parties for foodies and sommeliers and also they make great entertainment for corporate team building events and associates meetings at law firms. In addition, I've been a freelance journalist for 27 years. Currently my profiles of leading musicians and filmmakers appear in the Wall Street Journal and www.theroot.com. I also wrote about sports for the Root, and for five loooong years, which included the entirety of the Isiah Thomas Knicks era, I wrote about the NBA for the New York Sun. I enjoyed writing about basketball so much that I now do it here at rotations for free.
This entry was posted in A Stampede or Merely Another Rumble, basketball, Chicago Bulls, NBA, Sports. Bookmark the permalink.

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