Are the Bulls For Real?
Unfortunately for me, my family and I were fortunate enough to attend the Bulls game New Year's Eve Day at the United Center in Chicago against the Charlotte Bobcats. A team that had barely won a game all season. The Bulls lost that game in embarrassing fashion and looked awful. We did come to lean that Noah had the flu, Hinrich did not play, and it was just a bad night all around. Fair enough. But the Bulls have had their fair share of awful games, as well as some amazing ones. Just not sure if I can be completely on board.
I wrote an article about the Bulls just before the season started in October, about what I thought the Bulls needed to accomplish this season. Let's follow up and see if my targets are being met.
1. Get Rose Healthy.
Without a doubt, and to the Chicago Bulls management's credit, they are taking their time with DRose. They are allowing him to determine next steps and timeframes, so all the credit to the Bulls organization for stepping up on this one.
2. Give Jimmy Butler & Marquis Teague playing time.
Lots of credit to Coach Thibs here. Jimmy Butler played almost an entire game the other night. And not just played, but was a huge factor in their win. And Marquis Teague is getting minutes off the bench and some invaluable NBA playing time as a rookie. Another big check here.
3. Watch Boozer & Noah step up.
Props to Boozer and Noah for stepping up all season long. Noah is leading the Bulls in rebounds, steals and blocks. And Boozer is shooting on average 16 points a game, up 1 point a game from last season. Stepping it up! And the cherry on top, Joakim Noah made his first All-Star game. Nice!
4. Deng remains Deng.
Deng remains the glue of this team. Leading the Bulls with 17.4 points per game and an All-Star nod, Deng is clearly still Deng.
5. Hinrich & Hamilton stay healthy.
This one remains an issue as Hinrich has certainly had his share of issues. But he is leading the Bulls with 5.2 assists per game and should be a key piece to this time when DRose returns.
6. Bench Mob 2
Well, they certainly do not have the personality of the original Bench Mob-but Nate Robinson brings a real sense of fun and enjoyment to this team, Belinelli is hitting some huge baskets, Taj Gibson is playing like Taj-huge, and Butler, Teague & Mohammed playing key minutes.
So this team is hitting all the targets I thought they should hit. And winning. With 2 players going to the All-Star Game & DRose's return imminent. Maybe these Bulls are for real. all signs are pointing in that direction. Second half of the season should be fun to watch!