With the advancement of the Chicago Bulls’ “Baby Bulls” movement in full effect after knocking off the 2006 defending champion Miami Heat in the 2007 NBA Playoffs, the Second City is awaiting for big things in the near future. And the future is now.
After swingman Luol Deng’s season showing him to be on the cusp of becoming an inside-outside, perennial All-Star and Ben Gordon’s comfort as the starting shooting guard, the Bulls already have some of the best players that Great Britain has ever produced playing in the scarlet and black. While much of Deng’s improvement in the 2006-07 season can be attributed to his already high potential and natural progression in the NBA game, his aggressiveness and comfort within the offense is essentially welcome considering his coach is the steely Scott Skiles. Gordon, whose spectacular play at times had fans across the country calling him “Ben Jordan”, was troubled with the idea of playing as a sixth man while wielding the talent of being a star starting guard; but with his demonstrative aggressiveness and shooting stroke making him a true all-game target from opposing teams, Gordon is ready to capitalize on his first three seasons in the league.
The best thing about the Bulls is that the core is still intact. The glue of the team in Andres Nocioni, Ben Wallace, and Kirk Hinrich has been retained. Chris Duhon also will be back, though, he still may be subject to trades in the future. The bench is strong with Tyrus Thomas back as an explosive combo forward, who reminds of Marcus Camby and Stromile Swift with more upside. Winning rookie forward Joakim Noah from the University of Florida can also make an impact and keep up in the recent tradition of the Bulls drafting prospects from championship programs such as the aforementioned two-time NCAA champion Florida Gators.
The weak points of the Bulls’ roster are that there is not a reliable, high-scoring post player to draw attention inside and away from the perimeter, where most of Chicago’s best players reside. Where Wallace capitalizes on rebounding and blocking shots, he falls short on consistent offensive acumen, except for alley-oop dunks and put-back layups. Because of this, the potential deals for Pau Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies and then-Minnesota Timberwolf Kevin Garnett seem to have been no-brainer transactions to complete, now that both players have come to terms with their current or new teams.
Though the starting lineup of Hinrich, Gordon, Deng, Nocioni and Wallace shouldn’t change, with the red-dazzle mesh of the Bulls’ uniforms ripping and running across the floor of the United Center, expect quite a few NBA teams playing the matador role with little success. These are your 2007-08 Chicago Bulls.