Recap: (2006-07: 49-33): The Bulls continued their defensive prowess throughout the 2006-2007 NBA Season. They finished first in defensive efficiency for the 2nd year in a row. The addition of Ben Wallace added to their defensive firepower, but that move would prove to be redundant because it failed to address their offensive woes. The Bulls would finish 20th in offensive efficiency and proved to be void of any low-post threat. However, Luol Deng emerged as a consistent option on the wing and in the high-post, and Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon continued to develop as tremendous perimeter players.
Off-season: Even though everyone was pointing toward this move, I could not believe that the Bulls took Joakim Noah with their first pick of the draft. He is another, long, defensive oriented player. Yes, they needed someone who could help out on the boards, but it was much more important that they get someone known for scoring in the low-post. They also drafted Aaron Gray and JamesOn Curry. The Bulls picked up Joe Smith to replace the departures of P.J. Brown, Mike Sweetney and Malik Allen.
C – Ben Wallace: Proved capable of hanging with Shaq last year, but not with McDyess.
PF – Tyrus Thomas: Now inserted into the starting lineup, they hope he can be their low-post answer.
SF – Luol Deng: The most efficient player on the team, and the most likely to be traded. Go figure?
SG – Ben Gordon: There are only a handful of players who can guard him off the dribble.
PG – Kirk Hinrich: Can penetrate and dish, there’s just no one to pass it to when he gets in the paint.
Bench: Chris Duhon, Thabo Sefolosha, Adrian Griffin, JamesOn Curry, Andres Nocioni, Joakim Noah, Viktor Khryapa, Joe Smith, Aaron Gray
Philosophy: As far as I can tell, this team’s strategy is to play defense. The problem lies when they play great defense but still cannot out score the other team, such as when they played Detroit in the playoffs. And they will probably be even better on defense with high-flying Tyrus Thomas replacing P.J. Brown. On the other side of the ball, the offense will go through Hinrich, who will get the ball to Deng and Gordon off screens or into the high-post. Perimeter game alone will not help their offensive efficiency though.
Projection: The Bulls are pretty much the same team from last year but are a little bit better defensively. Nothing they did in the off-season will help them offense, and they were already as good as they could get on defense. Therefore, they will not be a much better team this year. However, if they can capture the #2 seed, as they should have last year, they might go further in the playoffs, but will ultimately lose in the Conference Championships due to their lack of offense.
Prediction: 52-30; 2nd in the Central Division