Chicago Sun-Times

10 Bulls questions to consider as camp opens

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Now that the Bulls are getting set to open training camp, here are 10 questions surrounding the team following a quiet offseason:

1. How will the Bulls manage without leading-scoring Ben Gordon, who signed with the Detroit Pistons?

2. Will the three-guard rotation of Derrick Rose, John Salmons and Kirk Hinrich improve the defense and make up for the loss of Gordon's offense?

3. Will Rose continue to progress and become the team's leader following the controversies of the spring and summer?

4. Is Luol Deng healthy after missing the final 2½ months of the regular season and the playoffs last season, and is he ready to live up to the big contract he signed in the summer of 2008?

5. Now that he has a year's experience, is Vinny Del Negro the right coach to lead the Bulls to the next level?

6. Can the Bulls count on Joakim Noah to be the player he was in the second half and the playoffs last season for a full season?

7. Are the Bulls in better position now to execute their big free-agent plans than they were earlier this decade?

8. After showing flashes of solid play last season, is Tyrus Thomas finally ready to live up to his promise?

9. Will rookies James Johnson and Taj Gibson be able to contribute and add to the frontcourt depth?

10. The Bulls should be a playoff team, but can they move up enough in the Eastern Conference to gain home-court advantage in the first round?

Let us know what you think. Leave a comment below.

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19 Comments

Playoffs? U can't possibly be serious.
This team won't win 29 games with this CBA roster.
I won't be spending a dime or wasting anytime watching this below par product this season.

Paxson, Gar and Vinnie have 2 be the least competent people at their posistions in the entire NBA.

i hate to agree with graycap but it doesnt look pretty. they have a brutal schedule to start this season. they could easily find themselves buried before the end of the second month.heck they could be buried by the end of the first month. which, by the way, will probably be the last month of vinny's tenure at the helm. defensively they cant help but be better. now that the give 30 and i'll score 20 king of the court(lil' ben) is a pistoff. oops, i mean piston. seriously, i used to have nightmares with him dribbling it off his foot in crunchtime over and over. he was a great guy but i am not to concerned. more p.t. for salmons and hinrich is good by me. lets see is mr rose can finish a game now that he has some time under his belt. anyway, we can probably get some of the scoring that we lost from ben leaving back from the frontcourt...ok never mind...deng will be a mental basket case and his myriad of injuries will begin to pile up again. swing and a miss......maybe tyrus?? ok nevermind...he will have his usual 2-3 highlights a game and then he will be beaten down the floor repeatedly and immediately fake a knee injury. strike two.. so, guess we cant count on him....how about joakim??? enough said..he better be about 30pounds heavier and not from beer and not from the cheeto's he had to consume to ease the munchies he seems to unexplainably suffer from in the summer.is that strike 3???..ok...its not all gloom and doom. and the bulls could be an average nba team this year. i will be watching just like the rest of you. so lets hope all goes well and we see some improvement by mr rose with that d and that jumpshot. hopefully he will get some calls in year two as well. but my call is that this season has the makings of a long year...

answers to the questions
1. i think hinrich and a healthy deng will make up for gordons scoring. rose's ability to drive the lane and get to the free throw line as well as decision making and point guard play will help them win close games.

2. Even last year with a healthy hinrich i actually preferred the startinig line up of rose and hinrich. though not the scorer gordon is hinrich will have plenty of chances to hit open jumpshots with rose leading the offense.

3. he would definetly make a lot of progress. you can just tell the work ethic and determination he has. he wants to be one of the best in the league.

4.we can only hope for that to happen. if healthy he will have a productive year. look for him to avg 18-20 pts a game.

5.still not too certain about this one. i hope he is the right coach to develop this young team and as he gains more experience through the years hopefully he will become the right coach with the right coaching staff to help him.

6.noah finished the season strong and has a lot of upside and potential. hopefully he improves his game and stays in shape during the off season.

7.they have all the right pieces. with a superstar in the lineup i think the team would officially be considered a top contender to come out of the east.

8.this is make break season for him. i am still not sure why they didnt keep aldridge.

9.good group of young front court players, we will see how they develop their game to match the nba level. and hopefully they will have a productive year.

10.if everyone stays healthy and this team builds some chemistry, i think they can get home court in the first round. i say this will be a 50 win season.

We need a veteran coach !!!!!

The Bulls do not have any experienced depth up front but if the core 7 - Rose, Salmons, Hinrich, Deng, Thomas, Noah and Miller - can stay healthy, it is stupid to assume that they could not improve on last year.

Rose should improve and so should Noah.

Having Salmons as a starter for the whole year with Hinrich getting more PT than John at SG, will certainly improve the backcourt defensively.

The Bulls COULD win 50 games this year and, if they stay healthy will, at worst, not lose as many games than last year.

The bulls will be much better off without the no playing defense wanted to be the man Ben Gordon. He does not no anything about playing team ball. Yes he could could score but it was never consistent. Yes he hit some big shots but also shot the bulls out of games. He has the tendency to dribble the ball off his big toe when trying to cross someone over. I used to like him but his game never improved to make the team better. I say good riddance to that wanna be the man!

Anthony Perrae

50 wins????? WAY WAY too much Kool-Aid people. i love the optimism though. that would be great..go bulls!!

well, i don't think its all that horrible, but not great either. We'll miss those 10 games a year that Gordon scores 35 or more. They are usually balanced out by the 15 games he scores 8 or less but the big ones are more noticeable. Others (Salmons, Rose ? ) will have to step up production and I'm not sure that will happen. If Tyrus is in fact better, trade him now as he will never ever be more valuable to you. Isn't that why they drafted as they did? Not a shooter that they needed desperately.

It all depends on free agency and I'm not sure that Reinsdorf will pull the trigger on an over the top contract deal.

50 wins is possible if you add up 2009-2011.

This is a lineup that will have the Bulls back in the high lottery and striking out with top free agents. Just like the previous era.

Rose will be good enough to have them within 6 points with 3 minutes to go, and then the Bulls will stand around looking for Ben Gordon to score all the points in crunch time. That will be the byline of game after game next year "Bulls hang close but can't close the game out". That's NBA speak for "They don't have anyone defenses can't shut down when they are really trying."

The Bulls will regret letting BG leave. He will avg 30 ppg against the Bulls this year. Tell Kirk & Loul to give some of that money back that they are "stealing" from the organization. The Bulls would have never sniff a Game 7 last year without Gordon and would have never beat the Heat 2 years ago without Gordon. Teams in the NBA don't gameplan to stop Kirk Hinrich or Loul Deng. You must be a gamechanger to earn that type of respect & money. Loul has the potential to be a gamechanger. Kirk has been around long enough and shows that he is a 3rd Guard on a playoff team and should be paid as such. Bulls will win 47 games this year. Go Bulls!!

Deng and Gar Forman are the two keys to this season.

If Deng comes back healthy, and is even mediocre (14ppg instead of 18ppg), that will help to have at least a reliable option in the rotation beyond Salmons and Rose.

If Forman can pull off a trade at the deadline for a top-tier free agent (here's to hoping Toronto and Miami tank bad this season), that would obviously be a big boon.

If Deng is healthy, and there is no trade, I could see a little improvement over last year, but not too much; maybe 45 wins. East has gotten stronger at the top and at the bottom. If it is no and no, then the Bulls may struggle to find 35 wins, and worse, would probably scare off any potential free agents from coming to the team.

Mr Jackson,

I'll attempt to answer your questions below:

1. How will the Bulls manage without leading-scoring Ben Gordon, who signed with the Detroit Pistons?

The Bulls will miss BG’s ability to score in bunches when we’re down by 10-15 points in a game. At the same time if defense and rebounding improve due to the subtraction of BG we may not have to come from behind so often.

2. Will the three-guard rotation of Derrick Rose, John Salmons and Kirk Hinrich improve the defense and make up for the loss of Gordon's offense?

It should balance out somewhat. Last season BG sometimes followed up 30+ point games with a game, or string of games of scoring less than 10pts. When BG did score 30-35 pts he rarely had more than 2-3 assists, 2-3 rebs & he rarely had any steals. Suprisingly he could block shots even though he was a short guy. If Kirk can return to his offensive production from 2-3 years ago the Bulls should be OK because Salmons is good for at least 18ppg easy. Also if the Bulls big men can finish on just HALF of the blown passes they received from Derrick Rose last season our offense should be ok.

3. Will Rose continue to progress and become the team's leader following the controversies of the spring and summer?

YES! Those controversies were based on issues that happened before he played for the Bulls. If it didn't stop him last year why should it stop him now? I don't think he wants to jeopardize his status with the team right now.

4. Is Luol Deng healthy after missing the final 2½ months of the regular season and the playoffs last season, and is he ready to live up to the big contract he signed in the summer of 2008?

Who knows? Do the Bulls even know? Does Deng even care? Do Bulls fans care? Having Deng return to form would only enhance the team but I'm not banking on it.

5. Now that he has a year's experience, is Vinny Del Negro the right coach to lead the Bulls to the next level?

No. I never was a fan of Pax as the GM or Vinny as the head coach. Vinny was horrible in the playoffs.

6. Can the Bulls count on Joakim Noah to be the player he was in the second half and the playoffs last season for a full season?

Yes. Noah often stated last season that he couldn't wait for the offseason to work on his strength. After getting flung around the court like a rag doll last season I think he now knows what it takes to compete in the NBA.

7. Are the Bulls in better position now to execute their big free-agent plans than they were earlier this decade?

YES. The cap room seems to be there based on what we hear in the news and we have the best up & coming PG in the league. The question is CAN they execute the plan since we struck out on Gasol and Kobe?

8. After showing flashes of solid play last season, is Tyrus Thomas finally ready to live up to his promise?

Tyrus is what he is. He'll probably always show flashes of greatness while often wandering off into never-neverland. He's not the brightest bulb on the tree so what we see is probably what we get. Hopefully I'm wrong.

9. Will rookies James Johnson and Taj Gibson be able to contribute and add to the frontcourt depth?

Dont know much about these guys. From the few clips in summer league Johnson should see a little court time. I wouldn't bank on Gibson.

10. The Bulls should be a playoff team, but can they move up enough in the Eastern Conference to gain home-court advantage in the first round?

I doubt it. The eastern conference competition has improved more than we have during the offseason.

The bulls should fare well this season. Rose will continue to get better he has been working on his jump shot in the off season which would make it harder to guard him and also open up the court so he won't have to force bad passes. As for the controversy he just wants to play the game he loves and nothing else matters, I'm sure he's learned a lesson.
Deng is a bust and if the front office is lucky he will show some vital signs to make him valuable trade bait before the deadline. He does have a huge contract but I'm sure someone would take it in this depressed economy, maybe the Knicks.
Tyrus Thomas what is your motivation? This guy has raw talent with no work ethic and questionable IQ. He's 6-10 with freakish athleticisms, decent ball handling skills for a forward and an inconsistent jump shot which he imagines is a staple of his game. Put the ball on the floor drive to the basket and jump over somebody's head and THROW IT DOWN BIG MAN THROW IT DOWN. Even if his jump shot does develop into a viable threat it should always come second to the high percentage shot.
What's all this gloom and doom about Ben "No Defense" Gordon? The guy is a gun, someone call the fun police, Ben was good at one thing letting the air out of a run. Yeah he had some big games but what about when it's an off night he would shoot you out of a game. Those were the games when Vinny should called it an early night for him and buried him on the bench. He’ll be no more with the Pistons then what he was with the bulls a spark plug their great new but eventually they'll need to be replaced.
Give Vinny a chance he deserves on just like everyone else. He also has 70 years of experience backing him up. He should be ok given the chance. He can't be no worse than Tim Floyd Krause's pet.
Joakim Noah is nothing but raw energy which is always good and also makes for good work ethic He'll be good all year.
John Salmons is not playing behind the pistons new spark plug, so he should get more credit for his worth, he did have some big games last seasons.
With Rose, Hinrich will play more shooting guard, a more suitable role since that’s what he played in college. Before Paxon wanted to turn him into the point guard they lost in Jay Williams.
They have a savvy veteran in Miller who his surely battle tested and a proven commodity.
The two Rookies will get in where they fit in and will have the chance to prove themselves. And they might not disappoint. Paxson does have an eye for talent.
When it's all said and done, the lights at every stadium around the league has to brighten and dim. Every second has to tick. And we will be there cheering or booing. Because just like the athletes who play the games, we love this game too, no matter how the ball bounces.

i agree with the first two comments i DO NOT belive they will do a thing....unless they get a real star player i dont belive in DENG at all.I do Like hinrich and rose but tyrus needs to go and deng needs to go. Why would the bulls spend all that money on a college 6th man (DENG) anyway?hope the new guys tear it up ...we'll see...

I hope that the bulls would get at least 50 wins or more. I know losing Ben was a bit of a hit on the bulls, because he was their main scorer and a good shooter. I hope that the bulls can do well without him, and that Derrick Rose will start being the type of player fans been waiting for.

The bulls need Derrick Rose to become the play maker he needs to be so he can make the team better. Players like Chris Paul and Steve Nash, are good example on how a true good point guard is, how they make their players a round them better and have a good team. I hope that Derrick Rose would become that type of player. GO BULLS!!!

1. How will the Bulls manage without leading-scoring Ben Gordon, who signed with the Detroit Pistons? Any player the Bulls have on the current roster will be better than Gordon was because the cancer is gone from this team, and it's in Detroit now. Buyer beware, or buyer's remorse???

2. Will the three-guard rotation of Derrick Rose, John Salmons and Kirk Hinrich improve the defense and make up for the loss of Gordon's offense? Yes, and the defense and overall team chemistry will improve dramatically.

3. Will Rose continue to progress and become the team's leader following the controversies of the spring and summer? He should be able to do that, afterall he's an NBA professional, right????

4. Is Luol Deng healthy after missing the final 2½ months of the regular season and the playoffs last season, and is he ready to live up to the big contract he signed in the summer of 2008? Only time will tell, if he's not ready, then he'd better be ready for the backlash from the Bulls fans.

5. Now that he has a year's experience, is Vinny Del Negro the right coach to lead the Bulls to the next level? TIME WILL TELL ON THIS ONE. As a Bulls fan, I hope so.

6. Can the Bulls count on Joakim Noah to be the player he was in the second half and the playoffs last season for a full season?

7. Are the Bulls in better position now to execute their big free-agent plans than they were earlier this decade?

8. After showing flashes of solid play last season, is Tyrus Thomas finally ready to live up to his promise?

9. Will rookies James Johnson and Taj Gibson be able to contribute and add to the frontcourt depth? THEY'D BETTER BECAUSE THEY'LL BE NEEDED WHEN NOAH AND TYRUS HAVE MELTDOWNS THAT ARE SURE TO COME AS THEY ALWAYS DO.

10. The Bulls should be a playoff team, but can they move up enough in the Eastern Conference to gain home-court advantage in the first round? THAT'S THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION

Basketball is my favorite sport. But I don't see much in the Bulls this year. Bulls gave the NBA one of the best playoff performances it has ever witnessed, and how did the Bulls respond to that...the same way they did after they won their last championship - they broke it up. It was like some body unplugged the record player as the themesong of the Jefferson's was playing.


1. How will the Bulls manage without leading-scoring Ben Gordon, who signed with the Detroit Pistons?

KLS - they will manage until they need a big shot - and of course it will be on Rose because he is the only guard we have with Gordon-sized talent.


2. Will the three-guard rotation of Derrick Rose, John Salmons and Kirk Hinrich improve the defense and make up for the loss of Gordon's offense?

KLS - how can you improve offensively by removing the leading scorer? You simply cannot. Gordon was nothing more than a second bannana to Kirk, and now Rose is the next one. Look at Gordon's and Rose's stats. Will surprise you to find who had MORE turnovers last year. Any guard that outshines Kirk is on his way out of Chicago. They actually did not like Gordon's scoring so what in the world will make you think they will like anyone else's scoring. Rose and Salmons better beware.


3. Will Rose continue to progress and become the team's leader following the controversies of the spring and summer?

KLS - NO. This is Kirk's team. I know who is doing the promotions, but I also know who's team this is. Rose should save it for his next team. How can this guy improve when they got rid of the SHOOTER to draw away the defense? Salmons and Kirk are worse offensive options than Rose. Gordon was a BETTER option, and it took pressure off Rose. OH my fault - PARGO is going to be there so its all good. (sarcasm alert)


4. Is Luol Deng healthy after missing the final 2½ months of the regular season and the playoffs last season, and is he ready to live up to the big contract he signed in the summer of 2008?

KLS - he will never live up to that contract because he simply sat down for most of it. And even if he does return to "form", what is that what 16 points off jump shots and sneak layups by a 7fter. I guess that will help Rose, but we all know that those shots get heavy in the fourth when you need them most.


5. Now that he has a year's experience, is Vinny Del Negro the right coach to lead the Bulls to the next level?

KLS - he is the right coach for the Bulls. The one willing to accept the job for peanuts until they find the next Jordan. And folks - Rose is not it. He is simply the spectacle. He is the false hope. The show pony. And Vinny is the puppet Jerry, Pax and Gar have there to control. I believe Vinny was actually trying to coach Rose last year when he benched him. Rose is not a good point guard yet. He is a good scorer, but a average to poor point guard. But the powers that be - MADE Vinny start Rose. And rightfully so - because that is what the people came to see last year. The Rose and Gordon Show! And it was quite entertaining too. Rose crossing people and Gordon hitting impossible shots. Vinny is so glad that Gordon is gone. But his job just got a lot more difficult. Either these guards play so hard until they get hurt (trying to fill big shoes) or they are going to suck and lose. Its all on Rose.


6. Can the Bulls count on Joakim Noah to be the player he was in the second half and the playoffs last season for a full season?

KLS - this is the bright spot in the lineup. Noah learned a lot from Miller and in the playoffs last year. He is a winner and has heart. Most folks thought he was a big joke. Noah, like many other players - just don't like wasting their time, and lose focus when coached by ego maniacs.


7. Are the Bulls in better position now to execute their big free-agent plans than they were earlier this decade?

KLS - No. When a player like Gordon is lost because of piddley money. It sends a shockwave around the league that Chicago is CHEAP, and they don't plan on paying for "HELP". REAL teams have more than just their main stars - they have role players that could start on other teams. The REAL contenders ADDED Players while Chicago got rid of their leader scorer. They think that having money will attract a big name free agent. It will have the opposite effect.


8. After showing flashes of solid play last season, is Tyrus Thomas finally ready to live up to his promise?

KLS - Yes, but he won't get a chance to play and develop because Vinny doesn't like him.


9. Will rookies James Johnson and Taj Gibson be able to contribute and add to the frontcourt depth?

KLS - You always hope so, but most of the time when you go dumpster diving, all you come back with is garbage.


10. The Bulls should be a playoff team, but can they move up enough in the Eastern Conference to gain home-court advantage in the first round?

KLS - See this comment always amazes me. How can you give the league such a treat in the first round and then dispatch the leading scorer the next year. Bulls were on their way up until that move. Those who think less Gordon will mean more Rose are sadly mistaken. It means more Salmons and Pargo. And Salmons has game, but if Salmons replaces Gordon - who replaces Salmons??? See the Bulls had more and now they have less. Management has pulled the wool over the eyes of most. I would be greatly surprised to see the Bulls in the playoffs. But even if, they couldn't take any of the contenders to 7 games. The chasm between the Bulls and the Eastern Conf. elite has expanded exponentially. And the margin between the Bulls and the bottom feeders has shrunken. I think the Bulls are on of the 5 worst teams in the league right now.

Keith, let's just take this discussion back up to FCP and tell Stu over there to start up Bulls topics again. I don't really enjoy posting here because the feedback response is atrocious and the posters here don't check on the board regularly.... Plus, I hate the Captcha option to allow your post to submit!

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This page contains a single entry by John Jackson published on September 22, 2009 1:31 AM.

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