Bulls Preseason Update
If you haven’t caught much of the Bulls preseason but want to know what’s going on with them, don’t worry. I’ve got your back. Before I do, however, I highly recommend checking out Kelly Dwyer’s Bulls Season Preview. Anyways, here are some things of note so far in the Bulls hot 4-1 preseason start.
- Derrick Rose is hurt. It’s unclear how hurt, but the team and Derrick assure the media that it is not a big deal. Its something wrong with his ankle or heel that just needs rest apparently. As a result, he hasn’t played much at all so far.
- Tyrus Thomas is also banged up. He has yet to play any meaningful minutes. Fortunately for some, this has given a lot of minutes to some other guys who are showing up big time. Most people feel that this year is a put up or shut up year for Thomas and will probably dictate any kind of future contract he can get from the Bulls or elsewhere. The Bulls say he is going to practice today and maybe be back on the court soon.
- Joakim Noah looks like a man possessed. He is in significantly better shape than at this time last year. His defense looks good and most importantly he is becoming the rebounding machine we had all hoped he could be. Oh and that offense thing that we weren’t expecting much of, well he made 3 hook shots the other night. I’m not saying he looks like an offensive beast out there, but if his offense was a 2 on a scale of 1-10 last season and he can get that up to a 3 or even a 4, that would be huge for a Bulls team desperate for easy baskets inside.
- Kirk Hinrich has looked very consistent across the board. He will be a nice insurance policy on the Rose-Salmons starting backcourt. Even coming off the bench he will be looking to get 20-25 minutes a game.
- Apparently the locker room chemistry is there too, as many players are saying this is the most fun they’ve had as a team in a while.
- Salmons is Salmons. I love that guy, he is continuing to do what he did last year, hit 3s, drive the ball, and play great one-on-one defense. His ballhandling is still somewhat suspect, but when Rose gets back that should be a non-issue since Rose will have the ball in his hands most of the time.
- Luol Deng is still extremely inconsistent. His shooting touch clearly has not returned, plays that look like dunks end up as soft layups, and he just doesn’t look comfortable out there. He has had a few flashes, but nothing spectacular. Hopefully he’s not still hurt and he is just getting used to playing
- The rookies have looked spectacular. I know it is the preseason, but Taj Gibson looks like the kind of guy that could develop into a solid role player in this league. He has nice touch from about 12-18 feet but he never forces shots and plays smart like a veteran. He could do to bulk up a bit, but so far I’m not complaining. James Johnson is a little tougher to peg. He’s clearly athletic and talented, but he is still very raw. He seems to be a decent rebounder but as a 3-4 tweener, he will have to develop some sort of outside game to be effective.
- Others: Byars and Richard are both guys that are unlikely to make the squad, but they are making a case nonetheless. Byars has looked great in the backcourt and Richard actually put up some nice numbers last night in the paint. Pargo has been Pargo (just like you remember, jacking up shots and not playing defense). Not much to say about Lindsey Hunter that you don’t already know.
Overall the Bulls have looked pretty good with the exception of Deng. We really won’t know what we have until Rose and Thomas come back, but the rookies are showing something and Noah seems poised to take the next step.
Oh and even though Rose’s offcourt demeanor seems vanilla, apparently his on-court abilities are making him very marketable. On that note, here’s a pair of his newest Adidas commercials. I like the first one much better, but the second one is cool too. Enjoy!